Sevilla claimed their sixth UEFA Europa League crown on Friday evening as they edged Inter Milan 3-2 in a thrilling finale.
The Spaniards actually fell behind early as Romelu Lukaku won and converted a penalty. Dutchman Luuk de Jong followed up his winning goal against Manchester United with a quickfire equaliser before he then struck again in the 33rd minute. Their lead did not last too long though as Diego Godin drew Antonio Conte’s men level just two minutes later to end a fantastic first-half.
Julen Lopetegui’s troops secured the trophy through Diego Carlos, who’s acrobatic effort found the net, albeit thanks to a huge deflection off Lukaku. Here are five things we learnt from a great final…
Sevilla the kings of Europa
After securing another fantastic success in the UEFA Europa League, Sevilla really have proved their credentials in the competition once again. It was their sixth title in the competition in all, at least three more than any other side.
Now established as a supremely competent side in Europe’s second-tier competition, it is now down to the Spaniard and his charges to see if they can finally repeat that success in the UEFA Champions League.
Disappointing season for Inter?
After the arrival of Antonio Conte in the summer and considerable fees outlayed in the transfer market, it was expected that the Nerazzurri would be able to return to somewhere near their former glories. In one respect, that has happened with the team having reached a major European final and for some time challenged Juventus for the Serie A crown.
In all though, it is another season without silverware for Inter, their ninth in a row. Conte will certainly hope to rectify this in his second season in charge.
de Jong proving the doubters wrong
Prior to the semi-final victory against Manchester United, it had been a tough period in front of goal for Dutchman de Jong. The former PSV Eindhoven and Newcastle United man had not scored in 11 matches and only netted seven goals in his maiden season at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
However, he has now proved to be the difference in both the semi-finals and final of the Europa League and now certainly looks to be worth the £11m fee that Sevilla forked out to obtain his services.
Lukaku worth the money
Whilst one striker experienced glory come the final whistle in Germany, one was left forlorn having fallen to defeat. Lukaku, despite giving his side the lead early on, did not manage to haul Inter to silverware but it was not for the lack of trying.
Having netted in the final, the former Manchester United striker made it a remarkable 11 matches in a row in which he has scored in the Europa League. Added to the highly impressive 23 goals he has scored in Serie A, it seems like de Jong, Lukaku was worth the considerable fee to bring him to the San Siro despite failing to lift silverware.
Headers the order of the day
In a final of such high quality between the two sides, it was somewhat of a surprise to see aerial threat the biggest weapon throughout the game. De Jong at first netted two fantastic header, the second a particularly eye-catching, looping effort at the back post. Inter did reply though with the dominant Godin also getting in on the act.
Whether the three strikes were down to poor defending in the penalty area or to excellent planning at set pieces remains to be seen but it is clear both teams targeted the air as a target.
Sevilla: Bounou (6); Reguilon (7), Kounde (6), Santos (6) (Gudelj (N/A), 86’), Navas (7); Jordan (7), Fernando (6), Banega (6); Suso (7) (Vazquez (N/A), 78’), de Jong (8) (En-Nesyri (N/A), 85’), Ocampos (7) (Munir (6), 71’).
Inter Milan: Handanovic (6); Godin (7) (Candreva (N/A), 90’), de Vrij (6), Bastoni (5); D’Ambrosio (6) (Moses (N/A), 78’), Barella (6), Brozovic (7), Gagliardini (6) (Sanchez (N/A), 78’); Young (6), Martinez (6) (Eriksen (N/A), 78’), Lukaku (7).
Goals: Lukaku (PEN 5’), de Jong (12’, 33’), Godin (35’), Lukaku OG (74’)
Referee: Danny Makkelie
Yellow Cards: Santos (4’), Barella (41’), Banega (45’), Bastoni (55’), Gagliardini (78’)
Red Cards: N/A
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