Sevilla’s love affair with the UEFA Europa League continued as they overcame Roma 4-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the 2023 final in Budapest.
12′ Spinazzola shot saved by Bounou
35′ Dybala fires Roma into the lead
45+6′ Rakitić drive rattles the upright
55′ Mancini diverts in Navas cross
68′ Ibañez slices wide after scramble
84′ Belotti off target from close range
120+11′ Smalling header hits bar
Pens Bounou denies Mancini, Ibañez
José Mourinho sprung a surprise with his team selection by opting to start with Paulo Dybala, despite the forward missing their previous four games with an ankle injury, and he quickly repaid the coach’s faith by helping to create the first chance of the game. The Argentinian slipped in Zeki Çelik, whose low cut-back was fired at goal by Leonardo Spinazzola, drawing a parry from Yassine Bounou.
Dybala’s second significant involvement proved more decisive as, in the 35th minute, he darted on to Gianluca Mancini’s incisive through ball and calmly slotted his finish across Bounou. Sevilla had shown little to that point but, having come from behind to win the trophy in their last three Europa League finals, they soon looked a different proposition.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s glancing effort was dealt with by Rui Patrício before a second header from the Moroccan striker skimmed the roof of the net. The Spanish side went closer still deep into first-half added time when Ivan Rakitić’s raking shot cannoned back off the post.
José Luis Mendilibar made a double change at the break, introducing Suso and Erik Lamela to inject more creativity into their play against a Giallorossi outfit that had kept five clean sheets in their previous seven Europa League matches. Roma’s reliable defence was soon breached though, 37-year-old Jesús Navas whipping in a right-wing cross that Mancini could only deflect into his own net under pressure from Lucas Ocampos.
Now it was Roma’s turn to respond and they so nearly led again. First Bounou denied Tammy Abraham in a goalmouth scramble before Roger Ibañez sliced wide then Abraham’s replacement, Andrea Belotti, also failed to hit the target from Lorenzo Pellegrini’s clever free-kick. Sevilla, for all their dominance in between, could not fashion a winner inside 90 minutes either with two shots on target from their 16 attempts outlining their lack of a cutting edge.
That trend continued in extra time and though neither goalkeeper was called into action during the additional 30 minutes, penalties were almost avoided when Chris Smalling’s looping header struck the bar deep into added time in the second period.
Bounou – a penalty-saving expert and Morocco’s match-winner in their World Cup round of 16 triumph on penalties against Spain – lived up to his billing in the shoot-out, saving from Mancini with his legs and touching Ibañez’s spot kick on to the post. Gonzalo Montiel, who scored the decisive penalty for Argentina in the World Cup final, had the last word here too, sweeping in a re-taken effort to ensure Sevilla were crowned for a record seventh time.
As it happened: Sevilla 1-1 Roma (4-1 pens)
Hankook Player of the Match: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla)
“His penalty saves were the decisive factor in the outcome of the game.”
Simon Hart, Sevilla reporter
“Our empire” read the banner at the Sevilla end before the match. A statement about their sense of ownership of this trophy which their players backed up on the field by responding to Roma’s control of much of the first period with an assertive second-half display which brought a goal set up by the evergreen Navas. He wasn’t the only hero, of course. Bounou made key saves in the game and from two spot kicks as Sevilla prevailed for a third time on penalties. And a word for Mendilibar, the European novice coach, who made decisive half-time changes – Suso had a big influence – and has turned Sevilla from Liga strugglers to winners of their favourite competition once more. Quite the transformation.
Francesco Corda, Roma reporter
Roma were unable to repeat their feat from Tirana. After their UEFA Europa Conference League triumph a year ago, the Giallorossi missed their shot at back-to-back European trophies and the chance to play in the Champions League next season. It was a match of two halves at Puskás Aréna: Roma got off to a better start and Dybala’s goal seemed like the prelude to a win with another clean sheet, but the Spanish side equalised. The outcome of the final was therefore decided from the penalty spot and while it was all smiles (and all goals) for Mendilibar’s team, Mourinho and his boys were left to lick their wounds.
José Luis Mendilibar, Sevilla coach: “I’m happy to be here, to have won for the club, which was having a hard time when we got here. When they scored, you think that it would be very difficult to score against them. The equaliser came quickly in the second half and gave us the strength to continue in the fight to win the game. Taking a penalty in training and then taking one with 60,000 fans is nothing like the same. We haven’t practised in any of the previous rounds. We had confidence in the people who were going to take them.”
Yassine Bounou, Sevilla goalkeeper: “I’ve had a lot of moments like this and I realised that you have to be very calm to deal with them. My team-mates also give me a lot of calm and security. Congratulations to all the guys and to all of Seville. This year has been full of emotions, between the World Cup and today. Sometimes you don’t really analyse what’s going on. I have always said that I am a man of the club, ready to defend Sevilla. Mendilibar trusted me and I have to repay his trust.”
José Mourinho, Roma coach: “We felt pressure against a team that has more talent than us. We lost a game but not dignity. I’ve never gone home prouder than today, even when I won. We had also worked hard on penalties but we missed two – but all together, not only the penalty takers. The boys must go home peacefully, with pride for having done what they have done. These are my boys from Budapest.”
Chris Smalling, Roma defender: “It’s a big disappointment. When it comes to penalties it’s hard to lose. We were determined to win and we left everything on the pitch. Seeing others celebrate will stay with us for a long time. We have to try to have another chance next season. Mourinho was very proud of us at the end of the game. He said we have always been together and we must be strong because we win and lose together.”
Mourinho still ‘proud’ despite Roma loss.
“Incredible. Sevilla, yet again, are Europa League champions. They were probably the better team, particularly in the second half, when they were excellent. It was a scrappy affair and, when it came to penalties, Sevilla stood up to the task yet again – as they normally do.”
Sevilla are the most successful club in UEFA Cup/Europa League history with seven titles (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2020, 2023); four more than any other club.
In the ten Europa League finals where at least one Spanish team has featured, the only defeat suffered by a Spanish team came in 2011/12 when Atlético de Madrid beat compatriots Athletic Bilbao. The other nine finals were all won by the Spanish team against non-Spanish opposition.
Sevilla have gone on to win their last four Europa League finals after conceding the opening goal of the match.
At 62 years 78 days, Mendilibar becomes the Europa League’s oldest winning coach, beating the previous record held by Maurizio Sarri (60 years 139 days).
Sevilla’s record in seven UEFA penalty shoot-outs is now W6 L1. Roma’s is W1 L4.
The Italian side had not scored a goal in their previous four Europa League knockout phase matches outside Rome this season before Dybala’s opener.
Sevilla are the only team to have played more than 50 matches in the Europa League knockout phase – this was their 52nd.
Jesús Navas took part in his fourth final in this competition, claiming his fourth title after success in 2006, 2007 and 2020.
Sevilla have only failed to score in two of their last 13 European matches.
The only previous own goal in the final was scored by Inter’s Romelu Lukaku in the 2019/20 defeat by Sevilla.
Sevilla: Bounou; Jesús Navas (Montiel 94), Badé, Gudelj (Marcão 120+8), Alex Telles (Rekik 94); Fernando (Jordán 120+9), Rakitić; Ocampos, Óliver Torres (Suso 46), Bryan Gil (Lamela 46); En-Nesyri
Roma: Rui Patrício; Ibañez, Mancini, Smalling; Zeki Çelik (Zalewski 91), Cristante, Matić (Bove 120), Spinazzola (Diego Llorente 106); Pellegrini (El Shaarawy 106), Dybala (Wijnaldum 68); Abraham (Belotti 74)