Europa League - Sevilla snatch victory in shootout after thrilling stalemate

Europa League final, Juventus Stadium – Sevilla 0 Benfica 0 (Sevilla win 4-2 on penalties)

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Europa League - Sevilla snatch victory in shootout after thrilling stalemate
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Sevilla's players celebrate with the trophy after defeating Benfica in the Europa League final (Reuters)

Sevilla snatched the Europa League trophy in a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Benfica following an enthralling goalless draw at Juventus Stadium.

Substitute Kevin Gameiro fired his spot-kick home to hand the Spanish side a 4-2 victory – their third European triumph in nine seasons – and end the Portuguese champions’ hunt for a historic quadruple.

Defeat stretched Benfica’s losing run in European finals to eight as the curse of former coach Bela Guttmann, who claimed in 1962 that the club would go 100 years without European success, continued to haunt them.

A cagy opening period was quickly forgotten as both sides poured forward in a thrilling second half with Sevilla perhaps fortunate to survive a series of penalty shouts and a mad goalmouth scramble.

The tempo inevitably slowed in extra-time with Carlos Bacca going closest to a late winner before a shootout ensued. Sevilla stopper Beto was the hero as he palmed clear two hesitant Benfica penalties before Gameiro stepped up to smash home the winner.

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KEY MOMENTS

45+1’ – BETO SAVES TWICE! Maxi Pereira is all alone in the centre, six yards from goal, but he can't poke the ball past Beto. Shortly after, Rodrigo crashes an effort at goal from 15 yards. Beto beats it clear.

45+2’ – CONTROVERSY! Gaitan goes down inside the penalty area. Felix Brych's decision? Goal-kick. Benfica are furious.

49’ – CHANCES GALORE! Benfica break at pace, and the ball finds its way to Lima on the inside-left channel. His shot is hacked off the line and sparks a crazy 20 seconds as Sevilla hurl their bodies on the line as Rodrigo and Lima blast shots into towards goal. Somehow, the Liga side survive.

52’ – REYES MISSES! Rakitic scoops the ball into the direction of Reyes. The former Arsenal man can't find the bottom corner under pressure from Luisao. The game has come alive!

56’ – ANOTHER PENALTY SHOUT! Moreno catches Lima inside the penalty area after miscontrolling a long ball. Again, no penalty.

84’ – SPECULATIVE LIMA EFFORT! Lima cuts inside, spots the keeper marginally off his line, and blasts a shot at goal from 30 yards. Great save from Beto.

101’ – BOCCA BLOWS CHANCE TO WIN IT! Rakitic plays an outrageous pass to Bocca on the right wing. The forward cuts inside and drives at Oblak's goal before sending a shot narrowly past the post.

PENALTY SHOOTOUT – Sevilla stopper Beto saves hesitant penalties from Cardozo and Rodrigo! Lima and Luisao keep Benfica in it, but strikes from Bacca, M’Bia, Coke and a winning effort from Gameiro ensure it’s Sevilla who are the 2014 Europa League champions!

KEY STATS

Benfica equal Juventus on losing a record eight finals in European competitions and they do this in the... Juventus Arena

Only two clubs in European history have a 100 per cent win record in three or more finals played: Sevilla and Feyenoord (excluding Super Cup)

Benfica are without a win in their last 15 European games against Spanish opponents

Benfica have lost their last eight major European finals; they have not won a European trophy since the 1961/62 European Cup

Stats courtesy of Infostrada and Opta

TALKING POINT

Will Benfica ever break the Guttmann curse? Eight finals; eight defeats. They have blown yet another opportunity to rid themselves of the jinx despite starting tonight's game as narrow favourites. Can they keep their stars together to have another crack next season?

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY

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MAN OF THE MATCH

Federico Fazio (Sevilla): Outstanding in defence and provided an outlet on numerous occasions as those around him grew weary. Ivan Rakitic a close second.

PLAYER RATINGS

Sevilla: Beto 7, Fazio 9, Carrico 6, Moreno 7, Pareja 7, Coke 7, Mbia 6, Rakitic 8, Vitolo 6, Bacca 7, Reyes 6. Subs: Marin 5, Gameiro 6, Figueiras 6.

Benfica: Oblak 7, Maxi 8, Garay 7, Luisao 8, Siqueira 7, Amorim 6, Andre Gomes 6, Gaitan , Sulejmani 6, Rodrigo 6, Lima 6. Subs: Almeida 6, Cardozo 5, Cavaleiro N/A.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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