Gonzalo Montiel the penalty hero again as Sevilla win seventh Europa League

By Sports Desk May 31, 2023

Gonzalo Montiel was the penalty hero once more as Sevilla made it a magnificent seven in the Europa League and handed Roma boss Jose Mourinho his first defeat in a European final.

Mourinho was on track to become the most decorated European manager in history with six trophies when Paulo Dybala defied an ankle injury he has been carrying for the last month to put the Serie A side in front in a scrappy affair in Budapest.

Gianluca Mancini, who had provided the assist for Dybala, put into his own net as the game finished 1-1 after 120 minutes then missed from the spot, as did Roger Ibanez, before Montiel scored the decisive penalty to secure a 4-1 shootout win for the Spaniards.

The Argentinian, who scored the winning spot-kick in last year’s World Cup final, initially missed from 12 yards but Rui Patricio coming off his line before the ball was struck meant a retake, and Montiel this time made no mistake.

While Sevilla claimed a record-extending seventh Europa League crown and qualify for next season’s Champions League, they had to do it in ugly fashion, with regular stoppages in play and players and coaches on both sides spoken to or warned by referee Anthony Taylor and fourth official Michael Oliver.

There were few openings as both sides started tentatively while there were regular interruptions, with both benches tetchy from the off, aware of what was at stake, and keeping Taylor on his toes.

The English referee had his first major decision when checking VAR after his countryman Tammy Abraham took a blow to the head but Nemanja Gudelj winning the ball meant no penalty was given.

The game came to life when Ivan Rakitic was dispossessed in his own half and while Sevilla’s defence seemed to anticipate a foul being given, Mancini took advantage and his through ball allowed Dybala to slot across Bono in the 35th minute. Amid howls of protest from Sevilla, substitute Rafa Mir was booked.

Lorenzo Pellegrini was cautioned for diving in the area and the constant breaks in play meant seven minutes were tagged on at the end of the first half, when Rakitic’s thundering effort from 25 yards thudded low off Patricio’s left-hand post.

Erik Lamela and Suso were brought on after the interval as Sevilla flew out of the traps, penning back Roma in their own half. The pressure told in the 55th minute as Mancini turned into his own net as he sought to stop Lucas Ocampos from latching on to Jesus Navas’ devilish whipped cross.

Sevilla were shown plenty of the ball but Roma almost scored again as a free-kick from Dybala, in his last involvement of the night before he was substituted, saw Abraham stab at Bono and amid a goalmouth scramble, the ball fell to an off-balance Ibanez, who sliced the rebound wide.

Ibanez’s night might have gotten worse when, with a quarter of an hour left, Ocampos went over the Roma defender’s trailing leg and Taylor pointed to the spot. With Mourinho and his coaches incandescent on the touchline, Taylor rescinded the penalty after a VAR check highlighted minimal, if any, contact.

It was Roma’s turn to appeal for a penalty soon after when the ball hit Fernando’s arm by his side. Taylor was unconvinced and then, not for the first time, headed to the Roma bench brandishing his yellow card.

While the names piled up in the official’s notebook, Roma almost had the last laugh but Andrea Belotti, on for Abraham, miscued a volley after a cute free-kick over the wall.

Fernando flashed wide as the match went to an additional 30 minutes, where both teams seemed reluctant to gamble.

Mourinho was booked for one of several confrontations with fourth official Oliver but after little action, Chris Smalling almost won it at the death but his looping header in the 10th minute of time added on from a corner came back off the bar.

The shootout started with Ocampos and Lamela netting either side of Bryan Cristante doing so for Roma but it was first blood to Sevilla when Mancini’s thunderous effort came back off a diving Bono’s legs.

Ibanez then saw his effort come back off the post and while Patricio seemed to have given Roma a glimmer when tipping Montiel’s spot-kick on to the post, the Portuguese’s encroachment gave the LaLiga player another chance he did not spurn.

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