Budapest (Hungary), June 1 (IANS) Top Spanish club Sevilla made a remarkable comeback to clinch the Europa League title, with goalkeeper Bono thwarting two attempts to ensure a 4-1 victory in the penalty shootout at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on Thursday.
The opening period proved challenging for both sides, marked by numerous fouls that disrupted the rhythm of the match.
The first genuine scoring opportunity came 12 minutes into the match when Roma’s Leonardo Spinazzola tested Sevilla’s goalkeeper with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, reports Xinhua.
Despite being Europa League record winners, Sevilla struggled to penetrate Roma’s staunch defense.
Roma eventually broke the deadlock when Gianluca Mancini’s through ball, following a counterattack, allowed Paulo Dybala to strike past Bono into the far post corner, 35 minutes into the game.
Sevilla rebounded well and nearly levelled the score before the break, but Fernando’s header from Ivan Rakitic’s corner kick sailed just over the target.
Rakitic, the veteran midfielder, remained a central figure, rattling the woodwork with a 20-meter hammer in the closing stages of the first half.
The momentum shifted after the restart, as Sevilla’s Alex Telles squandered another promising attempt from a favourable position.
Sevilla’s persistence paid off when Mancini inadvertently deflected a dangerous cross from Jesus Navas Gonzalez into his own goal, equalizing the score 10 minutes into the second half.
Roma nearly reclaimed the lead in the 67th minute, but Bono deftly defused Tammy Abraham’s close-range shot.
A potential penalty for Sevilla was revoked by referee Anthony Taylor after a review 10 minutes later.
The final minutes saw both teams trading attacks, as Bono denied Andrea Belotti from close range following a free kick. Conversely, Suso and Fernando couldn’t bypass Rui Patricio in quick succession at the other end of the pitch.
After a goalless extra time, the match was decided by penalty kicks. Sevilla converted all attempts, while Mancini and Roger Ibanez were denied by Bono.
“We must enjoy this moment. This is Sevilla’s seventh title. It’s an incredible feeling. We have shown the world once again what Sevilla can do. This is our Europa League,” said Croatia international Rakitic.