Jubilant scenes in Warsaw and Seville last night as Sevilla won and retained the Europa League after a hard fought 3-2 win over Dnipro. The hero has to be Carlos Bacca or “Two Bacca”(Sorry Star Wars fans) as I dubbed him in my house (to myself) whose two goal haul led the Spanish side to another night of European glory.
Dnipro took a surprise early lead through ex Blackburn Striker Nicola Kalinic but for a team who counter attacks so much they almost scored a bit too early as they then tried to see out the rest of the game by squeezing Sevilla out of the game and trying to kill them off, unfortunately with so much of the game still to play this tactic backfired Grzegorz Krychowiak managed to equalise with a well taken shot inside the box to level things up.
The main man Carlos Bacca then got in on the act to put holders Sevilla in front just a couple of minutes after their equaliser to turn the tide of the game and from there on in it looked like they would be in the driving seat for the rest of the game, but Dnipro had other ideas and managed to equalise with a free kick from Ruslan Rotan just before half time.
Both teams had chances to win the game with Konoplyanka who could well be playing his last game for Dnipro going close, another man who could be playing his last game was Sevilla’s Jose Antonio Reyes and it was his substitution that turned the game with Coke coming on at Right Back to give them some extra fizz. This allowed Alex Vidal to move forward to the right wing and make the team a bit more dynamic and it certainly showed as they poured forward with Ever Banega now pulling the strings in Centre Midfield.
The winner goal came in the 73rd Minute with new Spain squad call up Vitolo managing to thread a through ball on the edge of the box through to Carlos Bacca again who took no hestination in firing the ball bast the Dnipro keeper much to the delight of the Sevilla fans at that end of the ground. From there on then Sevilla showed their big game experience and managed to hold out but the game was not finished in terms of drama as Dnipro’s Right Winger Matheus who set up the first goal seemed to faint from a delayed concussion in the 86th minute much to the shock of the players and fans alike. Thankfully the medical team were on the pitch quickly and he was stretchered off with definite signs of movement and it seems not too much damage. This would have been quite raw for Sevilla who obviously experienced the trauma of seeing their team mate Antonio Puerta collapse and die on the pitch back in 2007 in a La Liga match against Getafe.
But after that pause in play it was just left for Sevilla to see out injury time and come through that unscathed to make sure they retained the Europa League trophy and they did exactly that. In winning last night they become the team to win the most Uefa Cup/Europa League trophies with 4, the first team to retain the trophy in it’s Europa League guise, which gave them their 4th trophy at this level in only 9 years and more importantly entry to next season Champions League which makes up for their agonising 5th place La Liga finish on Sunday.
More importantly that Champions League Football will probably mean that Unai Emery will stay for another season at the helm of Sevilla and bat away potential suitors such as A.C. Milan and West Ham. Also it means they won’t have to sell off any of their star names although whether they can keep hold of Carlos Bacca who will no doubt be in big demand remains to be seen. But those are issues for another day as I’m sure a lot of Sangria and Cerveza was consumed last night and there will be some very sore heads in Warsaw and back home in Seville.
If you didn’t see the game last night, here are all the goals: