Sevilla are the 2020 Europa League champions, the Spanish side came from behind to beat Inter Milan 3-2 in an exciting final in Cologne on Friday night.
Two goals from Luuk de Jong, and an own goal by the unlucky Romelu Lukaku saw Sevilla come back from 1-0 down to seal a memorable victory.
In truth, the match could have gone either way. It was a pretty even match, and both sides could claim they deserved to win for differing reasons.
Inter might claim that Sevilla’s Diego Carlos shouldn’t even have been on the pitch to be able to strike the spectacular overhead kick that led to Lukaku’s own goal.
The Brazilian defender may well have seen Red on another night for his ridiculous foul on Lukaku, which led to Inter taking the lead via a Lukaku penalty after just 5 minutes.
For me, it was one of those fouls that could have gone either way. Some will say Red, while others will argue a Yellow card was the correct call.
It wasn’t what I’d call a stone wall Red card, so I personally have no gripe with the decision.
Six Europa League Titles For Sevilla
From Sevilla’s perspective, they will argue that they have earned this win.
The 2020 victory is their 6th Europa League title in 14 years, a remarkable achievement for Sevilla.
As well as this remarkable statistic, what else did we learn on the night?
Here are 3 things we’ve learned from the match and the aftermath.
#1 The finest of margins can decide big matches
In the end better finishing was the difference between the sides.
Luuk de Jong’s two finishes were clinical, especially the second goal.
He had absolutely no right to guide his second header home from that range, the way he did.
On the other hand, Lukaku had a second half one-on-one with Yassine Bounou, and the Sevilla keeper came out on top.
As the keeper had done on many occasions against Manchester United in the semi-final a few days earlier.
In the end I would prefer to say that it was those fine margins that decided the final. Rather than moaning about a refereeing decision that was a 50/50 call.
Luuk de Jong took a chance he had no right to score from, while Lukaku fluffed his opportunity.
It’s on those sort of fine margins that matches are decided.
And that’s why Sevilla are deserved winners.
#2 A redemption of sorts for Julen Lopetegui
Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui was visibly moved with the win and was in floods of tears at the end of the match.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of what happened with Real Madrid, when he was manager of Spain, the man has clearly been through the mill.
To be sacked by Spain on the eve of the 2018 world cup, and then lose his job at Real Madrid after what must have felt like just 5 minutes (14 matches), must have been a massive blow.
It must have also been humiliating and would have broken the confidence of any human being.
Winning the Europa League must go some way to making up for that.
It will also have re-established Lopetegui as one of the top coaches in Europe.
Can he begrudged that?
#3 Humility in victory from captain Jesus Navas
Jesus Navas was part of the team that won the Europa League for Sevilla back in 2006.
This time Navas is captain of Sevilla. And in this after match comments, he showed what a true and outstanding leader he is by dedicating the win to ex players Jose Antonia Reyes and Antonio Puerta.
In 2019, Reyes was killed in a car crash at the age of 35. While Puerta died back in 2007 at the age of 22 after a cardiac arrest.
I’m well aware that Reyes isn’t without criticism for how he died, and I’m not condoning his actions that day. But he was still a young man with plenty of years ahead of him.
For those non Manchester City fans who think they might recognise the name, that’s because you probably do.
Yes, this is the same Jesus Navas that was laughed out of the Etihad back in 2017.
Remember him now? The guy who could fly down the right wing like Usain Bolt, but Bolt was probably better at crossing.
That’s the guy!
Yes, things did go horribly wrong for Navas at the Etihad. But he was always a decent professional who did his best.
Despite all the ridicule, Navas has both World Cup, and European Championships winners medals.
Add the Europa League into the equation, and it’s not a bad career for the former laughing stock.
Where was the 2020 Europa League final played?
The RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne hosted the 2020 Europa League final on 21st August.
The Stadion Energa Gdańsk in Poland was the original venue for the final. The match was originally due to take place on 27th May, but was rescheduled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Why were there no fans at the 2020 Europa League final?
There were no fans at the final due to the Coronavirus pandemic.