Gonzalo Montiel’s Spaniards beat Roma 4-1 on penalties to maintain their perfect record in all European finals
Sevilla’s Gonzalo Montiel (right) celebrates after scoring the match-winning penalty against Roma goalkeeper Rui Patricio during the Europa League final in Budapest on Wednesday. Pic/Getty Images
Sevilla found their Europa League magic formula on Wednesday, beating Roma 4-1 on penalties in Budapest to make it a perfect seven out of seven in finals in the competition.
The game finished 1-1 following extra-time after Paulo Dybala’s opener was earlier cancelled out by an own goal from Roma defender Gianluca Mancini. A bad-tempered but gripping match went to a shootout at a raucous Puskas Arena, with Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou proving the hero with two saves.
Gonzalo Montiel, who scored the winning penalty in the 2022 World Cup final, netted the decisive spot-kick after Mancini and Roger Ibanez had failed to convert for Roma.
Mendilibar’s first big trophy
The win is a remarkable achievement for 62-year-old Jose Luis Mendilibar, who only took over at Sevilla in March and is now celebrating his first major trophy.
“We are going to enjoy this because it has cost a lot and right now I don’t know if I will renew or not and I don’t care,” said the Spaniard, who is not certain to be at the club next season. The veteran coach was brought in to save the club from relegation and has led them to safety as well as European glory.
“When I arrived I told the players that they were very good but that they were not mentally in the right place and that was my job,” he said.
“They have shown me in the end that they are very good.”
Heartbreak for Mourinho
Defeat spells heartbreak for Roma boss Jose Mourinho, who has lost a European final for the first time after five successes. The fans created a crackling atmosphere before kick-off but the early stages of the game did not match the colour in the stands.
The first three spot-kicks were converted but when man-of-the-match Bounou saved penalties from Mancini and pushed Ibanez’s effort onto the post, the Spanish side had a 3-1 lead and appeared certain winners. But there was more drama to come. Montiel’s effort was saved by Rui Patricio but the kick was ordered re-taken after an encroachment by the goalkeeper and this time the Argentine made no mistake. Sevilla, 11th in La Liga with one match to play will play in the Champions League next season. But Roma’s campaign could end with a whimper after the highs of winning the inaugural Europa Conference League last year.
The Italian team are sixth in Serie A with one game remaining and there are major doubts over whether Mourinho, 60, will still be manager next season. “We felt pressure against a team that has more talent than us,” said the Portuguese. “We lost a game but not dignity. I’ve never gone home prouder than today, even when I won.”
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