Sevilla become Europa Leagues kings again by winning six in 14 years… but after breaking Middlesbrough hearts and dismantling Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, are the Cologne heroics against Inter Milan their greatest yet?
- Spanish giants Sevilla have defined themselves as the Europa League masters
- The La Liga club have won the competition six times in just 14 years
- Back in 2006 Sevilla broke the hearts of Middlesbrough in Holland
- Ten years on they quickly dismantled Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side in Basel
- Sportsmail examines Sevilla’s heroics to see if Inter Milan win was the best yet
No team can claim to know a competition as well as Sevilla know the Europa League.
Over the past decade, and more, the Spanish side have excelled in the competition and created a love affair which simply refuses to end.
Managers have come and gone, squads have chopped and changed, but one thing somehow still remains; Sevilla’s ingrained ability to flourish on the Europa stage and find their way back to the gleaming silver trophy.
From breaking Middlesbrough hearts in 2006, to dismantling Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool ten years later, Sevilla have gone above and beyond to reclaim their favourite honour.
Now, after triumphing over Italian royalty Inter Milan to win the Europa League yet again, Sportsmail peers back through the remarkable achievements of the Andalusian club.
In 14 years Sevilla have won the Europa League six times, with different players and managers
Sevilla’s maiden voyage into the final of the competition pitted them against English opposition who also could not quite believe their luck.
Steve McClaren’s Middlesbrough side had embarked upon the most impossible run to the final, escaping from the jaws of defeat several times in the rounds prior.
With this confidence and apparent overarching fate, Boro took to The Phillips Stadion believing destiny was within their hands.
Middlesbrough hearts were broken in Holland as Sevilla hammered Steve McClaren’s side
Yet Sevilla had similar ideas. The plucky Spanish side had earned rave plaudits in their homeland, after emerging from the shadows of Barcelona and Real Madrid to prove that other La Liga sides could make a mark on Europe.
And so Sevilla ran riot, scoring their first of four goals just before the half hour mark courtesy of Luis Fabiano.
A brace from Maresca would follow, before former Premier League star Freddie Kanoute put the icing on the cake.
McClaren and his valiant Boro players stood around in the aftermath, silent and heartbroken. Yet Sevilla’s journey was just beginning.
Sevilla vs Espanyol – 2006/07 – Glasgow, Scotland
Having quickly acquired a taste for success, Sevilla put all their eggs in the Europa (then UEFA Cup) basket and staged an assault to reclaim their title.
Beating Shakhtar in the round of 16 and knocking out Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter finals, Sevilla – managed by future Spurs boss Juande Ramos – soon came up against their first of two Spanish opposition.
Osasuna stood in the way of the final, where they would then go on to meet Espanyol to battle for the main prize.
While facing sides from your own domestic league can often be extremely difficult on the European stage, Sevilla rose to the challenge with aplomb.
Andres Palop of Sevilla lifts the trophy after the penalty heroics against Benfica in Glasgow
Osasuna were beaten 2-1 in the semis, before a four-goal thriller in the final at Glasgow’s Hampden Park brought about extra time and penalties to determine a 2-2 draw.
Kanoute was again on the scoresheet for Sevilla in the final in regular time, and also stepped up first to slot home the opening penalty.
Wracked with nerves, Luis Garcia Fernandez missed the first spot kick for Espanyol, before Jonatas and Marc Torrejon sadly followed suit.
Only Dani Alves missed a penalty for Sevilla, as they went on to claim the title once again. Alves would go on to spend one final year with the club before then signing for Barcelona.
Sevilla vs Benfica – 2013/14 – Turin, Italy
After losing the likes of Alves and several other key stars, it would be seven years before a new-look Sevilla made the final once again.
This time the Juventus Stadium in Turin was the stage, as the Spaniards locked horns with the titans of Portugal, Benfica.
Both sides steadily exchanged blows in what was a slow grind of an evening, with neither team wanting to over-commit.
After 90 minutes plus a full period of extra-time, the sides could not be separated. Penalties loomed.
Sevilla showed their experience in Turin and were immaculate during the penalty shootout
Sevilla of course had been here before, in the final and also in the shootout situation. This time however, with a squad of new faces, it was time to make history yet again.
Nerves of steel soon followed, as Sevilla scored every single one of their spot kicks courtesy of Carlos Bacca, Stephane Mbia, Coke and Kevin Gameiro.
Veteran star Oscar Cardozo missed for Benfica, along with striker Rodrigo who would later go on to represent Spain.
The good times returned. Sevilla were European kings yet again.
Sevilla vs Dnipro – 2014/15 – Warsaw, Poland
It seems to be something of a pattern that when Sevilla win the Europa League, they develop a feverish determination to immediately return to the final.
One year on from their beating of Benfica in Turin, the Spaniards lined up against Ukrainian outfit Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Warsaw.
Both teams had defeated Italian opposition in the semi-finals, with Sevilla dumping Fiorentina from the competition.
Carlos Bacca became the hero of the night in Warsaw, scoring a late winner to claim the trophy
Dnipro however had dispatched of an exciting Napoli side to show they were no fools upon entering the final.
A goal-laden showdown was to follow, as Sevilla clinched victory in the latter stages.
Dnipro had opened the scoring after just seven minutes courtesy of Nikola Kalinic, and appeared to be in control until Grzegorz Krychowiak scored on the cusp of the half hour.
Carlos Bacca put Sevilla ahead, only for Ruslan Rotan to equalise and see the game deep into the late stages at 2-2.
Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu, both then playing for Sevilla, held the silverware aloft
Sevilla looked as though they would have to navigate extra-time once again, only for Bacca to craft himself into the hero of the hour and rattle the back of the net on 73 minutes.
Sevilla then shut up shop, using their experience to see yet another Europa League victory over the line.
Sevilla vs Liverpool – 2015/16 – Basel, Switzerland
Whereas last time Sevilla had dropped off after making two consecutive finals, now they surged onwards and made it a three-peat.
Under manager Unai Emery, who had fashioned his side into fearsome European heavyweights, Sevilla booked their plane tickets to Switzerland for the Basil final.
Standing in their way however was Liverpool – a side rapidly rejuvenating under the mastery of Jurgen Klopp.
Kevin Gameiro scored immediately in the second-half to signal Sevilla’s comeback mission
Klopp had taken over in the October, after Liverpool started the Europa campaign under previous manager Brendan Rodgers.
While yet to stamp his authority on the side by bringing in his own players, Klopp had transformed Liverpool into a heavy-pressing, relentless machine.
A disbelieving comeback victory over Borussia Dortmund followed by an impressive beating of Villarreal signaled to many that Liverpool were more than ready to win the competition.
Sevilla, who had dropped down from the Champions League after finishing behind Manchester City and Juventus in the group stage, had other ideas.
A first-half Daniel Sturridge goal, sumptuously curled into the far corner of the net with the outside of his left boot gave Liverpool early momentum. Sevilla looked rocked.
Jordan Henderson and Simon Mignolet queue up to collect second-placed medals in Basel
Whatever happened at half-time, however, quickly snapped the Spaniards back into their all-conquering selves.
Liverpool were forced into errors, and Sevilla capitalised with glee. Kevin Gameiro scored just one minute into the second half to set the tone. A brace from Coke, in the space of six minutes, was to kill the tie off completely.
Liverpool had nothing left, as Klopp paced the touchline with a face of dismay. Destiny had intervened once again, and the trophy was heading back to Andalusia.
Sevilla vs Inter Milan – 2019/20 – Cologne, Germany
And so to present day, where we find ourselves once again marvelling at the newly crowned kings of the Europa League.
A four-year absence after beating Liverpool saw Sevilla make a charge to reclaim their silver once more.
The tournament style set-up of play, due to the coronavirus pandemic postponement, seemed to lend itself nicely to the Spanish side.
Luuk de Jong thrust Sevilla back into contest with his remarkable heading abilities
Sevilla were able to channel their focus purely on the task in hand, brushing off the likes of Roma, Wolves and Manchester United in the process.
A fluency had certainly clicked in the approach of Sevilla, who were determined to win a first trophy for manager Julen Lopetegui.
Again, with yet another fully revamped squad, Sevilla showed winning this competition is simply within their DNA.
An early Romelu Lukaku penalty did not deter the La Liga side, who fought back through the heading prowess of striker Luuk de Jong.
A late Lukaku own-goal, forced on by remarkable acrobatics from defender Diego Carlos, resulted in an all too familiar occurrence.
With eyes twinkling, Jesus Navas lifted the famous trophy as captain of his boyhood club
Jesus Navas, lifelong Sevilla fan and now captain of his hometown team, was getting his hands on the trophy yet again.
Lopetegui wept on the pitch as the confetti cannons exploded high above him, feeling the redemption wash over following his sackings from both the Spain national team and Real Madrid.
Sevilla are European champions once more and, most certainly, you would be quite the brave gambler to bet against them doing it again very soon.
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