Football Sevilla beat Inter Milan to win Europa League
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Sevilla beat Inter Milan to win Europa League

Sevilla players celebrate with the Europa League trophy. Photo: AAP
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A Romelu Lukaku own-goal has helped Sevilla claim a 3-2 victory for a record-extending sixth Europa League triumph in an absorbing final against Inter Milan.

The Inter forward deflected Diego Carlos’ overhead kick, which appeared to be going wide, into his own net for Sevilla’s winning goal in the 74th minute.

Diego Carlos had fouled Lukaku in the third minute, conceding a penalty for the third game in a row, and was perhaps fortunate to avoid a red card.

 

The game started at breakneck pace despite being the 54th game of 2019-20 for both teams in a season extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

After just three minutes Lukaku surged away with the ball when a Sevilla throw-in was cleared, and Diego Carlos grappled with the Inter striker as he prepared to shoot.

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou could do nothing to stop Lukaku’s powerful penalty kick into the bottom-left corner.

The goal set off a first-half goal-fest, with the lead lasting just seven minutes before Luuk de Jong levelled the score with a diving header off a cross from right-back Jesus Navas.

De Jong was rewarded with a start after scoring the winning goal as a substitute against Manchester United in the semi-finals.

The Dutch striker put Sevilla in front 2-1 with a towering header at a free kick in the 33rd, but Inter defender Diego Godin responded with his own headed goal three minutes later.

After Sevilla reclaimed the lead, Jules Kounde stopped Inter leveling once again when he cleared substitute Alexis Sanchez’s shot off the line in the 82nd.

Sevilla’s Diego Carlos strikes an overhead shot, leading to his team’s winning goal. Photo: Getty

In a season defined by the coronavirus pandemic, Sevilla finished with a player on the field who had his own season disrupted by a positive test for COVID-19.

Serbian midfielder Nemanja Gudelj replaced Diego Carlos in the 86th minute of the final and was able to help his team see out a nervy final period.

“This group deserve this. We’ve been fighting all season and getting over the problems that we’ve encountered,” Sevilla’s Jesus Navas, who won his third Europa League with Sevilla – 14 years after his first.

The loss extended Inter’s wait for a first European trophy since Jose Mourinho led the Italian club to the Champions League title in 2010.

Sevilla’s title triumph follows wins in 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“I think Sevilla were more tired than us in the final part of the game but they had this chance, the ball was deflected by Romelu’s foot and went in. It happens,” Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic said.

“My emotion is very big because we have worked very hard and we deserved to win against a fantastic team like Inter,” Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui said.

-with AAP