Liverpool looked to be on course to winning the Europa League final as they were leading 1-0 at half-time but their Spanish opponents had a different say in the final 45 minutes of the match as they ended up scoring three goals to make history by breaking their own record of winning the European competition for a third consecutive time and bringing their total to five.
Liverpool appeared to be dominating the pitch early on and were intent on scoring and so they did. However, Liverpool’s players couldn’t handle the pressure after the break and their shambolic defending allowed Sevilla to score 17 seconds after the start of the second half. Following triumphs in Eindhoven and Glasgow, Turin and Warsaw, Sevilla now have great memories in a fifth city, Basel. The Spanish side under Unai Emery has shown that they can challenge on several fronts at the same time without losing control. Emery’s season is not over yet, he still has another final to play next Sunday when his team meets Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final in Madrid.
Ahead of Sevilla is a different challenge, next season they take part in the Champions League for the second consecutive time. Although they were unlucky to be drawn in the group of death with Juventus, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach, their early exit from the competition meant that they can win the Europa League. However, their aim next season should be higher. Emery should be confident of reaching one of the top two positions in his group next year no matter who the opponents are. Sevilla’s problem this season has not been talent or ability, it has been their failure away from home. In La Liga, they were unable to win a single away match, losing 10 and drawing nine (only Levante had a worse record). The team’s league performance in home matches would have earned them a spot right behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. This shows how important their fans are to them.
Emery can take Diego Simeone as an example. Atletico Madrid won the Europa League in 2012 and it was a great achievement but Simeone was not content with just that. His side went on to reach the Champions League final twice and win La Liga once in the space of four years. Although Sevilla are not as good as Atletico, they have the potential to do just as good. 11 years ago, Sevilla had no European titles to boast, now they have five. It is in their hands to decide whether they can replicate their success story in the Champions League or not.