Sevilla too strong for Mourinho’s Roma after penalty shootout in nasty Europa League final
In a riveting but often tedious Europa League final, Sevilla won over AS Roma after penalties. With seven final wins in the Europa League (and predecessor UEFA Cup), the southern Spanish team is the record holder.
It was by no means a match that soccer fans will talk about at length years later. Due to abundant injury time, the match counted no less than 146 minutes, but because the game was constantly stopped, there was only 66 minutes of pure playing time.
First lost European final Mourinho
Roma coach José Mourinho lost a European final for the first time. Previously, the 60-year-old Portuguese did win the Champions League with Porto and Inter, the Europa League with Porto and Manchester United (at the expense of Ajax) and last year the Conference League (at the expense of Feyenoord).
Roma’s players in particular stood out for their theatrical behavior and constant complaining at the referees. From the dugout, Mourinho was only too happy to stoke that fire.
But English referee Anthony Taylor had a good eye for it and treated no fewer than seven Roma players to a yellow card, including for a schwalbe (Lorenzo Pellegrini) and protesting (Bryan Cristante). Two of Mourinho’s assistants and the head coach himself also received yellow for protesting too fanatically.
Sudden goal Roma
A shot by Roma midfielder Leonardo Spinazzola on Sevilla goalkeeper Bounou was the only soccer highlight for a long time. That changed when Roma suddenly took the lead in the 35th minute.
Referee Taylor allowed play to continue after a slight foul in midfield. With a simple but clean pass, Gianluca Mancini sent away teammate Paulo Dybala, the Argentine finished coolly: 1-0.
The opening goal was the signal for Sevilla to crawl out of its shell. And that immediately produced chances against the tight Roma defense. First Fernando headed just over from a corner and in injury time, which lasted seven minutes, Ivan Rakitic hit the post with a long-distance shot.
After halftime, Sevilla continued that streak and it led to the 1-1 within ten minutes. A cross from captain Jesus Navas was worked into his own goal by Mancini.
Roma, now with substitute Georginio Wijnaldum between the lines, had to look for goals again and came close in an unadulterated scrimmage. Among others, Tammy Abraham and Roger Ibañez just failed to get the ball in.
Fifteen minutes before time, Lucas Ocampos (mainly a bench player at Ajax earlier this season) seemed to deserve a penalty for Sevilla. But after VAR intervention, Taylor ruled that defender Ibañez had touched the ball first and reversed his decision.
Substitute Andrea Belotti missed another good chance for Roma, making an extension inevitable. In that extra time, a second Dutchman entered the lines with Sevilla defender Karim Rekik. Roma’s Rick Karsdorp remained on the bench for 120 minutes, but received a yellow card for protesting.
Also in the extension the game was almost continuously at a standstill. As a result, the second half of the extension had no less than twelve minutes of injury time. At the very end, Chris Smalling headed onto the crossbar on behalf of Roma.
Montiel decisive again
Penalties had to bring the decision in a match that began in May and ended after midnight in June. In it, Mancini again became the schlemiel. The defender who earlier scored in his own goal, now shot the ball onto Bounou’s legs. Then Ibañez hit the post and, as in the World Cup final, Gonzalo Montiel shot the decisive penalty.
The Argentine initially missed, but was allowed to shoot again because Roma’s goalkeeper came off his line too early.