Seville, crowned for the sixth time

Seville, as usual! The Andalusians won their sixth Europa League, an absolute record for the event in less than fifteen years, by beating Inter Milan in a final with twists (3-2) Friday in Cologne, spectacular end of an edition upset by the coronavirus.

Spain with 12 coronations

Sevilla relied on the head game of their striker Luuk de Jong, who scored twice in the first half (12th, 33rd), and an incredible return from their defender Diego Carlos, well helped by Romelu Lukaku, who stuck the Italian defense a quarter of an hour from the end.

“This team never surrenders,” said coach Julen Lopetegui on Movistar +, referring to the health situation. “Resilience is that: being able to live with difficulties, and overcome them.” The Cup, delivered behind closed doors in Cologne (Germany), extends the Andalusian stranglehold in this event: they hold more than ever the record for victories in C3, with six trophies in six finals (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2020). Spanish captain Jesus Navas now has three to his name, like Ever Banega.

With 12 coronations now, according to UEFA data, Spain is also the country with the most success in this competition ahead of … Italy (9), whose last title dates back to the 20th century (Parma in 1999). A ray of sunshine for La Liga after the historic slap received by Barcelona against Bayern (2-8).

A beautiful revenge

A great revenge also for coach Julen Lopetegui, after his failures at Real Madrid and in the Spanish selection. His Inter counterpart, Antonio Conte, misses the opportunity to win a first European trophy after his national titles with Juventus and Chelsea.

His team had started well, opening the scoring in the 5th minute thanks to a penalty obtained and transformed by the inevitable Lukaku (5th), surrounded by Diego Carlos. The Belgian scored his 34th goal of the season in all competitions, equaling the Brazilian Ronaldo in his first indoor season (1997-1998).

But Inter then lost the thread a bit, and Conte first who received a yellow card for claiming too vehemently a penalty for a hand from Carlos (17th). Seville, for its part, did not panic. De Jong, preferred in attack to the Moroccan En-Nesyri, put the Andalusians right side up with a double from the head: on a cross from Navas in the 12th, then on a free kick from Banega (33rd).

To keep the Milanese boat afloat, the experienced Godin (2 victories in C3) was needed to come, also from the head, to equalize without delay (2-2, 36th).

Bono and the decisive face to face

But the experience will be insufficient in the face of the rage of the Sevillian defenders. That of the goalkeeper Bono, who won a decisive face to face against Lukaku, left alone full axis (65th), that of Koundé who saved his team on the line in front of Alexis Sanchez (82nd).

And especially that of Diego Carlos, who was forgiven in the most beautiful way the penalty caused at the start of the market by going to score the third goal of Sevilla from an improbable return (74th), with the help of the unfortunate Lukaku.

Enough to leave the Milanese head down and Conte defeated. Hired at a gold price a year ago to make the club shine again and try to dethrone Juve in Serie A, the Italian coach ends up without a trophy and must now raise doubts about his future, born after offensive statements towards its direction.

Inter president Steven Zhang, interviewed on Sky Sport, described the club’s record as “very positive”, without commenting on upcoming discussions with the coach.

For the players, it’s finally vacation time, at the end of an endless season due to coronavirus and an unprecedented final tournament behind closed doors, in Germany. Holidays necessarily short because La Liga resumes on September 12 and Serie A on the 19th.

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