You can’t deny Sevilla has style, right? The Spanish club retained its Europa League crown after clinically thumping Liverpool 3-1 on a rambunctious night in the Swiss city Basel.
For much of the first half the Reds from Liverpool were supremely on top, but the English, apart from a beautifully crafted finish by Daniel Sturridge, failed to take their chances. In the second half Sevilla wrestled control back. After just 20 seconds, Kevin Gameiro slotted in Mariano Ferreira’s cross for the equalizer.
From that moment onwards, the Spaniards never looked like relinquishing their grip on the match. Liverpool went flat in a collective showing of familiar failure. Jürgen Klopp’s team has not developed much yet. Klopp’s zany touchline behavior didn’t transform him into a miracle worker.
Sevilla were simply better. Unai Emery’s charges showed their experience and canniness. They presented a robustness in both defense and midfield and didn’t yield at the end of the first half when under pressure in their own half. Up front, Sevilla was lethal. Coke struck twice within six minutes to further enhance Sevilla’s love story with the Europa League.
In fact, Sevilla is a serial winner of European soccer’s second tier prize. The club finished 40 points behind Barcelona in this season’s Liga, but still pulled off the amazing feat of winning a third Europa League in a row. That European pedigree has not been matched since German giants Bayern Munich team and Franz Beckenbauer won three European Cups from 1974 to 1976.
Sevilla’s romance with the competition began back in 2006 when they defeated Middlesborough 4-0 in Eindhoven. Last night’s triumph was Sevilla’s fifth success in this competition within 10 years. Liverpool may dwarf Sevilla in status and size, but it’s a remarkable achievement, all due to the never-ending endeavors of the club’s technical director Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo.
Verdejo, aka Monchi, has an eye for talent. He brought a long list of talents to the club:
Dani Alves, Federico Fazio, Martin Cáceres, Adriano; Ivan Rakitic, Júlio Baptista, Seydou Keita Christian Poulsen, Luís Fabiano, and Carlos Bacca. He signed them for just $28 million, and sold them for $190 million. Sergio Ramos, Jesús Navas, Alberto Moreno, Luis Alberto, and José Antonio Reyes are all youth products of Sevilla. They fetched almost $112 million.
Sevilla has very much become a development and feeder club, keeping itself afloat with modest means among the behemoths of the Spanish capital Real Madrid and Catalonian Barcelona FC, but permitting itself the luxury of focusing on the Europa League.
Yesterday’s win was another illustration of how quick the turnaround and change at Sevilla is – only four players from the starting lineup of last season’s Europa League final were playing: Banega, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Vitolo, and Daniel Carrico. In the end, it was of little importance.
Sevilla waltzed its way to glory. Expect them to be back next year!