UEFA Europa League
St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland
Sevilla were crowned UEFA Europa League Champions for the third consecutive season after they came from behind to beat Liverpool 3-1 at St. Jakob-Park in Basel. By defeating the Reds, Sevilla became the first team to have won three consecutive European titles since Bayern Munich in 1976.
A terrific strike from Daniel Sturridge initially gave the Reds the lead ten minutes before the break, but a Kévin Gameiro strike: 17 seconds after the interval levelled the scores for the Spanish outfit before a brace from Coke sealed the victory.
The Reds started well and went close on separate occasions with Emre Can and Sturridge testing Sevilla keeper David Soria before Gameiro went close with an acrobatic overhead-kick on the half-hour mark.
Five minutes later the Reds took the lead. Philippe Coutinho found Sturridge who curled a terrific effort into the far-corner with the outside of his foot.
Three minutes later the Reds thought they had a second when Dejan Lovren headed home from a James Milner corner but it was correctly ruled out for as Sturridge was active from an offside position.
Immediately after the interval the Spaniards were level. Alberto Moreno’s headed clearance fell to Mariano who nutmegged the former Sevilla man before sending in a low-cross that Gameiro tapped home.
A minute later the Spaniards could have made it two when Éver Banega played Gameiro through on-goal, but just as he looked set to net his 30th of the season, Kolo Touré made a fantastic last-ditch challenge to deny the Frenchman.
Close to the hour-mark, Gameiro had another great opportunity to double his night’s tally. A Sergio Escudero throw-in was flicked-on by former Stoke City midfielder Steven N’Zonzi into the path of Gameiro whose scuffed effort was instinctively tipped over by Simon Mignolet when he really should have scored.
In the 64th minute Sevilla went ahead. Vitolo exchanged a number of one-twos before nutmegging Lovren and Coke nipped-in to to curl home beyond Mignolet.
Six minutes later the Spanish side added a third to seal the victory, however there was some controversy involved. After a Nathaniel Clyne interception ricocheted off Coutinho, the ball fell invitingly to Coke and the Sevilla man capitalised firing into the back of the net despite Mignolet getting something on the ball. The controversy arose as Coke appeared to be offside according to the linesman who had his flag up. However, as a result of the ball being played by a Liverpool player, Coke was played onside and fired home with the referee correctly overruling the linesman’s decision meaning the goal stood.
Liverpool still tried to pull a goal back with Sturridge and Coutinho going close but it wasn’t to be as Sevilla held on to prevent the Reds from doing what they did against Dortmund.
The result meant that Jürgen Klopp was unable to win a single piece of silverware in his first-season and that they failed to qualify for a European place. It was also Klopp’s fifth defeat in the final of a competition. The result for Sevilla meant that they defended their title for the second consecutive season and that they will qualify for the group stage of the Champions League – meaning Spain will have five teams in the Champions League next season.