Wednesday May 14 2014
EL: Sevilla beat Benfica in shoot-out

The Benfica curse struck once again, as they wasted numerous chances and lost the Europa League Final to Sevilla on penalties.

The decider was hosted by the Juventus Stadium in Turin and Antonio Conte sat next to former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the stands.

Spanish side Sevilla had the brighter start and Guilherme Siqueira’s last ditch tackle prevented Colombian striker Carlos Bacca from breaking the deadlock.

Benfica lost Miralem Sulejmani to a shoulder injury following a very late Alberto Moreno tackle, but had two great scoring opportunities in first half stoppages.

First Maxi Pereira got on the end of a long ball for a volley beaten away from point blank range by Beto, then the goalkeeper was again called into action on Rodrigo’s solo effort.

The Portuguese champions also had penalty appeals for a Federico Fazio challenge on Nicolas Gaitan when he was clear on goal.

After the restart Benfica, who lost last year’s Final to Chelsea, began to pile on the pressure with Lima’s shot cleared off the line by Pareja.

Moments later Luisao had a last-gasp challenge to stop Jose Antonio Reyes pulling the trigger, then Moreno got away with another potential penalty on Lima.

Lima opted to set up Rodrigo for a shot charged down by Fazio rather than go for goal himself, then in the final minutes Beto backtracked furiously to fingertip a Lima lob out from under the bar.

In extra time, Benfica continued their onslaught, as Beto parried a fierce Lima free kick, but Bacca risked giving Sevilla the winner on a classic counter-attack from the Rakitic pass, blasting across the face of goal to skim the far post.

Kevin Gameiro hit the side-netting for Sevilla in the second period of extra time, but the tempo slowed considerably as cramp took its toll in both teams and they settled for penalties.

Beto fingertipped away an Oscar Cardozo spot-kick after his excessively stuttering run-up, then Rodrigo had the same result.

It proved enough, as Moreno blasted in the final penalty to give Sevilla the trophy and confirm the Benfica curse.

Sevilla 0-0 Benfica (aet, 4-2 on pens)

Penalties: Lima (B, scored), Bacca (S, scored), Cardozo (B, saved), Mbia (S, scored), Rodrigo (B, saved), Coke (S, scored), Luisao (B, scored), Moreno (S, scored)

Sevilla: Beto; Coke, Pareja, Fazio, Alberto Moreno; Carriço, Mbia; Reyes (Marin 78) (Gameiro 104), Rakitic, Vitolo (Figueiras 110); Bacca

Benfica: Oblak; Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Siqueira (Oscar Cardozo 99); André Gomes, Amorim; Gaitán (Cavaleiro 119), Sulejmani (Almeida 25), Lima; Rodrigo

Ref: Brych (GER)

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