Wow!! What a game!! And what a Final that is that goes on and on right until the very end of this Europa League season – this time between Sevilla FC (Spain) v AS Roma (Italy) from the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary.
Roma struck the opening goal thanks to Paulo Dybala, even though there’s a bit of backlash from Sevilla’s end as to whether or not if it was a foul beforehand during the first half (34th min). But never mind, Sevilla were right back in the mix at 1-1 apiece after the 55th minute thanks to Roma centre-half Giancula Mancini, who made an unfortunate error to his own keeper (Rui Patricio) before he booted the wrong way with the ball inside the net.
Nothing much happened after that going into full-time & the same again throughout extra time, particularly the 2nd 15 min instalment that lasted for so so long (10 mins) following the original six mins of added stoppage time. So for the third straight time in recent Finals’ history, it all comes down to penalty shootouts where the winner will not only get to lift the trophy but also secure Champions League group stage qualification for next season.
That winner belongs to now 7 x Europa League champions Sevilla who were spotless all long while Roma had a few hit and misses, even though none of Sevilla’s players has scored at all through the first 120-130 odd mins of play.
Looking back at that winning moment, Right-back Gonzalo Montiel thought his penalty shootout strike was blocked by Roma goalie Rui Patricio but then Patricio jumped out of his line somewhat early. So a penalty had to be re-taken by the referee & this time it’s through into the net where Sevilla became Europa champions once again – the exact same thing how he helped Argentina wrap up that World Cup Final as World Champions last year v France via penalties in Qatar (4-2 following 3-3 in two halves & Extra Time).
How good!! Even though they might have a mixed domestic season (La Liga) in 9th right now with a game to spare, but it doesn’t mean they can’t taste European glory as Sevilla will now play in one of Europe’s elite club competitions amongst the best next season (2023/24) thanks to their Europa League triumph tonight.
And as for Roma, they were halfway there towards lifting another European triumph following their win last year in the Conference League v Feyenoord. However, a few ill-disciplines, fouls & a lopsided momentum across the pitch allowed Sevilla to make up some lost time before they made few hit & miss strikes including from some winning free-kicks around the goalposts.
Yes, gotta feel sorry for Giancula Mancini following two unlucky moments – an own goal where Sevilla levelled at 1-1 & a failed penalty shootout strike. But sadly, Roma’s brilliant start began to falter as the game goes on before they were under pressure going into sudden death penalties, and they just couldn’t get past Sevilla over the line with the loss. Roma may still be playing Europa League next season & go one better as long as they can finish 5th or 6th in the Italian Serie A League, but it might not be under Head Coach Jose Mourinho who could switch over to PSG in Paris, France.
Now after a wonderful Europa League Final night of soccer once again, bring on the Champions League Final next Sunday AM (Australian time) where current EPL champs Manchester City will take on Inter Milan at Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. Man City have yet to win a UCL title, having made the final once back in 2020-21 as they were runners-up 0-1 by Chelsea. Inter on the other hand, have last won a title there back in 2009-10 where they defeated Bayern Munich 2-0.