Europa League final: Sevilla king of the competition against an invincible Mourinho’s Roma in the continental final

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A new international title, a silver trophy of 65 centimeters and 15 kilos and a ticket for the group stage of the next Champions League. For all this they will fight this Wednesday Seville AND Romewho with an Argentinian presence will play in the final of european championship at the Puskás Arena in Budapest. The bout can be viewed through ESPN and the Star+ platform.

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This tournament, the second most important in the Old WorldAND the fetish contest of the Andalusian group: won four titles (in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2020) and two more in its predecessor, the old UEFA Cup (2006 and 2007). And every time he reached a final, he ended up winning the cup.

Reaching this final was a pipe dream just over two months ago when Jorge Sampaoli, who took over the team in October to replace Julen Lopetegui, was dismissed from the substitutes’ bench. At the time, the Sevillians had already been knocked out of the Champions League (they finished third in group G, behind Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund) and were just two points away from relegation to the Spanish league.

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What has changed since then? The answer is summarized in one name: José Luis Mendilibar. The veteran Basque coach has changed the face of the team that has Lucas Ocampos, Erik Lamela, Gonzalo Montiel, Alejandro Gomez and Marcos Acuña (He will miss the final due to disqualification). Under his management, the team lost only 2 of the 15 games played and left two European giants, Manchester United and Juventus, in the mudto reach this final.

Montiel y Lamela, part of the Argentine army in Seville.  Photo: EFE

Montiel y Lamela, part of the Argentine army in Seville. Photo: EFE

His players recognize that drastic change that is evident at first glance. “We improved our style, we started playing like Sevilla did a few years ago: keeping possession, with a solid defensive line and attacking the opponent’s goal. This has been the key to our success so far,” explained Serbian Nemanja Gudelj in the hours before the decisive duel in Budapest, where 13,000 Spanish fans, who arrived in the Hungarian capital on 23 charter flights, will present the gift.

If his side are successful, Mendilibar will become the oldest manager to win the Europa League at 62 years and 78 days (Maurizio Sarri led Chelsea to the title in 2019 aged 60 years and 139 days.) And he will do so in his seventh game in continental competition in his 29-year career: in addition to the two qualifiers against Manchester United and Juventus, in 2005 he led the Athletic Club Bilbao in two games against the Romanian Cluj for the extinguished Intertoto Cup.

If this final has that extra value for the coach, for Sevilla, the most successful club in the history of the Europa Leaguewill present an opportunity to extend his dominance in this tournament and also to avoid his first season without continental participation in a decade, since his chances of obtaining a Conference League ticket via the Spanish league are linked to a very complicated carambola of results at the last appointment.

RomeOn the other hand, he already has his European place guaranteed, even if he will only be able to access the Champions League if he prevails in this final. After a campaign full of chiaroscuro, is facing the possibility of obtaining the second continental crown in its history having achieved the Conference League last season, as well as the 1961 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup title, which UEFA does not recognize as official.

This success abroad coincided, not surprisingly, with the presence of José Mourinho in the banka man who holds a notable record: He emerged victorious in the five continental finals his teams played. In addition to the Conference League with Roma, he won the UEFA Cup with Porto in 2003 and the Champions League in 2004, won the Champions League with Inter Milan in 2010 and won the Europa League with Manchester United in 2017. Furthermore, if Roma triumph again this Wednesday, he will become the first coach to win the Europa League with three teams.

Paulo Dybala, protégé of Mourinho and swordsman of Roma.  Photo: AFP

Paulo Dybala, protégé of Mourinho and swordsman of Roma. Photo: AFP

Beyond his successes, the Portuguese prioritizes and highlights collective work. “We work hard every day to build the history of Rome. Only big clubs with a great history get back to back European finals. For us, having achieved it has great value,” said the 60-year-old coach, who ruled out that his retirement is close: “Perhaps people look at my gray hair and think I’m very old, but not old enough to think about closing the circle. No no no. They will have me for many more years. ” Although it is not certain that his future will be in Rome after the end of this season.

With a solid three-man back supported by two starting midfielders and underpinned by the creativity of Paul Dybala (His presence in the final is uncertain due to an ankle problem left that still torments him), the Roman team arrived at this decisive duel after finishing second in group C, behind Betis, and having eliminated Red Bull Salzburg, Real Sociedad, Feyenoord and Bayer Leverkusen in the knockout phase.

Among fans of she Wolf the expectation is as great as among the Sevillians. More than 15,000 spectators are expected at the Puskás Aréna and another 50,000 will gather at the Olímpico in Rome to watch the match on the giant screens that the club will put on the pitch.

Source: Clarin

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