Sevilla won a record fourth Europa League trophy after beating Dnipro in a thrilling final in Warsaw on Wednesday.
The Spanish side had to come back from a goal down as Nikola Kalinic headed Ukrainians Dnipro into an early lead.
Sevilla responded with two quick goals as Grzegorz Krychowiak drove in before Carlos Bacca rounded the goalkeeper.
Ruslan Rotan’s clever free-kick made it 2-2, but Bacca broke through to seal victory for Sevilla and with it a place in next season’s Champions League.
Unai Emery’s side are the first to retain the Europa League trophy since it was rebranded in 2009, and they have now triumphed in the competition more times than any other team, having won the Uefa Cup in 2007 and 2008.
|Sevilla’s second chance|
|Sevilla are the first beneficiaries of the Europa League winners earning a place in the Champions League. They had initially missed out on a place in Europe’s elite competition by finishing fifth in La Liga.|
It was a far from comfortable victory though, as Dnipro belied their underdog tag with a spirited display in their first European final.
They had won just seven of their 16 matches en route to the final, scoring 13 goals in the process, but took a shock lead against Sevilla with their first attack.
A long ball was knocked on by former Blackburn striker Kalinic for Matheus, who waited for his team-mate to run into the area before sending in a cross for Kalinic to head home.
Sevilla immediately set about mounting a response, but found it difficult to break down a Dnipro side that had retreated into their own half.
Their equaliser came when Dnipro failed to clear Ever Banega’s corner and Krychowiak drove a shot through a crowd and into the net.
Barely three minutes later the game was turned on its head when Sevilla took the lead. Former Arsenal forward Jose Antonio Reyes split open the Dnipro defence with a fine ball and sent Bacca clear, allowing him to round the goalkeeper and slot home.
Dnipro had not scored more than one goal in a Europa League game in their previous six fixtures in the competition, but responded superbly to Sevilla’s quick double to level matters before the break, Rotan expertly steering a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.
That set things up nicely for more of the same after the restart, but ultimately the second half failed to match the tempo of the first and when Bacca was put through by Vitolo to slot home, there was no way back for Dnipro.
Sevilla coach Unai Emery said:
“It has been a lot of work. The whole side worked very well. We’ve had difficulties in all of the games.
“At half-time, we spoke about how this competition takes a lot out of you, and that we had to wait for our moment. We deserve this. We have to enjoy it.”
Dnipro coach Myron Markevych said:
“Unfortunately we allowed Bacca the chance to be aggressive. We made a lot of mistakes in defence.
“Sevilla were more experienced, and I think that showed. But we tried to play our best game.”
Source: BBC Sport