Friday night saw a closely contested tie between Sevilla and Inter Milan who battled it out for the Europa League title in Cologne.
Both clubs have a respected European pedigree, with Inter Milan having lifted the Europa League three times along with three Champions League titles and Sevilla who held a record five Europa League titles and were searching for their fifth. However, despite their three Europa League wins in the 2010’s, it was arguably Inter who came in as favourites. The Italians were 5-0 winners in the semi-finals against Shakhtar Donetsk and certainly started off well against the Andalucíans in the final.
Within five minutes Romelu Lukaku ran in behind Diego Carlos, who was lucky to escape with just a yellow card after he hacked the Belgian forward down in the box. This decision would in the end prove to be somewhat controversial given the end result. Lukaku converted the penalty to give the Nerazzuri the lead in the game.
However, this lead was short lived as Luuk De Jong connected with a sumptuous cross from Jesus Navas, scoring a fantastic diving header to level the game.
Sevilla demonstrated a similar battling spirit to that that they showed in their 2-1 victory against Manchester United in the semi-finals, taking the lead with another goal from Luuk De Jong. However, this was not before some more controversy as a shot from Nico Barella struck Diego Carlos’ arm in the penalty area. However, the Italians were to be disappointed as the referee decided against giving them a second penalty, resulting in an angry Antonio Conte to lose his cool and reveive a yellow card. De Jong once again scored from a cross, this time a beautifully struck free kick from Ever Banega which found the Dutchman’s head.
Sevilla’s tactics could be considered somewhat rudimentary given the way they scored their first two goals. However, the Spaniards were certainly effective and played to the strengths of their striker who is dominant in the air. Once again, the lead was short lived as Inter scored a header of their own as veteran Uruguayan Diego Godin once again scored in a European Final.
The four goal first half was level both in terms of the scoreline and in the play as there wasn’t much difference between the two sides on the surface. Inter once again started strong after the break as a sliding block from Sevilla’s controversial defender Diego Carlos prevented Gagliardini from giving Inter the lead. Inter came close again as Lukaku once again found space in behind Sevilla’s high line. However, his shot was saved by the advancing Bono in the Sevilla goal who spread himself well and managed to keep Lukaku’s shot out.
Unfortunately for the Milan side, their short dominance in the game wouldn’t last as Sevilla found their matchwinner. Diego Carlos who had been both a hero and a villain in the first half made his ultimate mark on the game. Sevilla once again sent a cross into the box which Inter thought they had cleared. However, the ball only got as far as the Brazilian defender who attempted an overhead kick which looked to be heading wide but for the boot of Romelu Lukaku who scored an own goal to send the trophy back to Seville.
The controversy of whether Diego Carlos should’ve been on the pitch to score his winner will likely be the narrative from an Inter Milan perspective. However, this takes nothing away from Sevilla who have battled at every stage of this tournament and showed once again how dangerous they are in a competition that they have made their own.
Featured image source: BT Sport via YouTube
Last modified: 25th August 2020