There were intricate emotional issues and facts as Spanish La Liga football club, Sevilla FC, tonight in the German city of Cologne, came from a goal down to defeat Internazionale Milano 3-2 to lift their record sixth Europa League trophy, three more than their nearest top winners. Sevilla had before today’s victory, won the Europa League in 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, and today, 21st of August 2020, a year that COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating challenge on football calendars, forcing the latter knockout stages of the tournament to be played in one-legged format at neutral venues, as well as without fans in the stands.
It is a day that tears of joy, melancholy, relief, and sadness flowed. Coach Julen Lopetegui, the head coach of Sevilla, shed tears of melancholy and relief, as the victory serves as both a relief and a vindication of his ability, after he had gone through a painful past two years. He was sacked by Real Madrid after just four months at the helm; sacked by Spain as national team coach only two days to the FIFA World Cup in Russia 2018; and, overlooked for the position of the coach of the United States Men’s National Team. Today, he wins the keenly contested Europa League, beating several fancied teams along the way to the trophy.
Jesus Navas last won the Europa League along with his friends Jose Antonio Reyes and Antonio Puerta, both who have passed away. He was full of mixed feelings, and shed tears too.
Diego Carlos, the Brazilian defender for Sevilla, had conceded a third consecutive penalty, as he had done same in the quarter finals and semi finals. But he still kept his belief intact to, towards the end of the match, attempt a wonderful overhead kick that forced Belgian Romelu Lukaku to poke the ball beyond his own goalkeeper. Carlos had early in the match conceded a penalty for Inter’s opener which Lukaku converted with aplomb on the sixth minute of the match.
It was Lukaku’s eleventh consecutive Europa League match scoring run. And his 34th goal of the season in all competitions. But it ended in tears as he inadvertently hit the ball into his own goal from Carlos’s overhead shot.
Luuk de Jong showed evidence of his recent fine form when he hit the equaliser only seven minutes later, then headed Sevilla ahead in the game at the thirtieth minute.
It all appear to be going Sevilla’s way until Diego Godin, former Atletico Madrid player, equalised for Inter, to make it two goals apiece in less than three minutes.
But Diego Carlos had other ideas as his spectacular shot got turned into the net by Lukaku who had tracked back to help his team defend against the rampaging Spanish team.