TURIN: Spain’s Sevilla – admitted to the Europa League through the back door – upset the odds by defeating Benfica of Portugal on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the final after extra time.
Sevilla had beaten Betis and Valencia, both also of Spain, in the quarter and semi-finals respectively. The power of Spanish football will be underlined once more at the end of next week when Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid contest the Champions League Final.
Benfica will fear that the Curse of Bela Guttmann has struck yet again: the Hungarian coach, angry at being sacked after the club’s Champions Cup win in 1962, claimed they would never win a European competition for a century. Various defeats in both European competitions have seen him vindicated – as he was yet again in Turin.
Yet the newly-crowned Portuguese champions had only themselves to blame for poor finishing in the second half before they subsided to their eighth successive European final defeat since the 5-3 win over Real Madrid 52 years ago.