Liverpool 1 – 3 Sevilla
To say tonight’s Europa League final was a game of two halves is an understatement. The opening 45 minutes saw Liverpool take complete control of the game after twenty minutes with an array of chances. Their failure to capatalise on more than one of these came back to haunt them seconds after the restart.
Both sides began tentatively with Liverpool slightly edging the opening quarter of an hour. The first chance of the game fell to the English side when Emre Can’s strike from distance forced Sevilla goalkeeper David Soria into action. The Merseysiders had two appeals for handball waved away by the Swedish match official and in honestly they would have been harsh calls.
Liverpool made Sevilla pay with 35 minutes gone. Daniel Sturridge received the ball on the edge of the box, he hesitated which saw Sevilla’s Mariano back off. The Englishman curled the ball with the outside of his boot straight into the far corner of Soria’s net. The following ten minutes saw Liverpool exploit the weak right flank of Sevilla. Pure luck ensured Sevilla went in just one goal down.
Mariano redeemed himself staright from the restart. He took control of the ball on the right hand side, nutmeged Alberto Moreno advancing into the box before squaring the ball to the lethal Kevin Gameiro who slotted home his eight goal of the competiton just 17 seconds after the kick off. Liverpool were rocked and barely stayed in the game,Kolo Toure prevented Gameiro from giving Sevilla the led.
Sevilla’s second goal was a sublime piece of buildup play. Winger Vitolo played the ball into playmaker Banega who had come alive in the second half. The Argentinan found Vitolo once more who’s deft touch laied the ball into the path of Coke. The Sevilla captain finished the move off with a low curling shot which nestled into the back of Simon Mignolet’s net. Liverpool were in a state of complete shock but had 25 minutes to find an equaliser. However six minutes after Sevilla moved ahead they doubled their led.The ball smacked off the shin of Liverpool’s Philippe Couthino which ricocheted to Coke. The Spaniard wasted no time in firing past Mignolet. Despite the assistant raising his flag the goal stood as it came off Coutinho.
Liverpool seemed resigned to defeat and failed to produce any noteable chances in the final quarter of an hour. Sevilla could have made it four but their strikes were erratic and didn’t trouble Mignolet. As the rain fell in Basel it was bitter disappointment for Liverpool fans while Sevilla enjoyed the pure ecstasy of winning the competiton for the third year in a row – a record achievement.
Sevilla have secured a place in the Champions League group stage next season and will look to complete a double on Sunday when they face FC Barvelona in the Copa deal Rey final. For Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp tonight markets his fifth straight defeat in a final.