Spanish La Liga side Sevilla retained their Europa League crown on Wednesday night, beating Ukrainian outfit Dnipro 3-2 in the final at the National Stadium, Warsaw. It’s the fourth in their history, setting a new record, and sees them book a place in the Champions League for next season as reward, courtesy of a Carlos Bacca brace.
Dnipro stunned the holders by taking an early lead. Nikola Kalinic, who has been the side’s top scorer in all competition this season opened the scoring just seven minutes into the game. The former Blackburn striker headed home from a cross into the middle to send shockwaves in the Sevilla camp.
The Ukrainians were stoic defensively, and weren’t allowing their Spanish counterparts any room to work a clear-cut opening. However, their resilience was eventually broken close to the half-hour mark in the game. Grzegorz Krychowiak worked a move with Carlos Bacca, before rifling his effort home to level the tie in the first-half.
Bacca went from provider to goalscorer just minutes later, putting Sevilla into the lead for the first time in the night. The prolific Colombian rounded the goalkeeper and finished into an empty net, with ex-Arsenal man Jose Antonio Reyes claiming the assist with a through ball matching Bacca’s run.
But Dnipro weren’t to be denied that easily. They have surprised everyone making it this far in the competition, and they managed to find an equaliser on the cusp of half-time through Ruslan Rotan. The long-serving veteran midfielder buried a free-kick in the 44th minute to ensure both sides went into the break level.
Midway through the second-half, however, the fairytale was ended for Dnipro, as Sevilla took the lead once more. Bacca bagged his second of the final, this time finishing into the bottom corner after being picked out with another through ball. He even came close to scoring a hat-trick, but was held to a match-winning double instead, as Sevilla sealed consecutive Europa League crowns.
The club have now won the competition four times in the last nine years (2005/06, 2006/07, 2013/14, 2014/15), and are in next season’s Champions League as per the new ruling for the winners of the competition.
For manager Unai Emery is caps off an incredible season of consistency, as Sevilla pulled off the same 5th-placed finish and Europa League win in his first full season (2013/14). He’s a man who could find himself linked with some stellar clubs in the summer following his side’s impressive European campaign, and Spain’s dominance in Europe’s top competitions this season goes some way to restoring the country’s former glory.