Liverpool suffer dramatic second-half collapse; Sevilla set record with Europa League hat-trick

By Daily Sports on May 19, 2016

Views: 1,500

Sevilla achieved a remarkable hat-trick as it became the first club to win three successive Europa League titles with victory over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool Wednesday.

The Spanish club came from behind to defeat its English opponent 3-1 at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, after Liverpool suffered a dramatic second-half collapse.

Jurgen Klopp’s side looked on course to secure the prize of Champions League football – on offer to the winners of the competition – when Daniel Sturridge’s magnificent strike with the outside of his left foot gave them the interval lead.

The good work was wrecked in the first 17 seconds of the second half when Kevin Gameiro turned in Mariano Ferreira’s cross to put Sevilla level.

There was controversy over Coke’s second goal on 70 minutes with Liverpool players claiming the Sevilla captain was offside before firing beyond goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

While the linesman did initially raise his flag that decision was promptly over-ruled by referee Jonas Eriksson who recognised that the ball had deflected off Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho into Coke’s path, thus rendering the Sevilla player onside.

Liverpool players complained bitterly but the officials made the correct decision despite the initial confusion.

In spite of that controversy, however, Sevilla was fully deserving of its two goal winning margin.

The victory marks Sevilla’s fifth Europa League success in 11 years and ensures it will qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Liverpool, meanwhile, will miss out on European competition altogether next year having finished a poor eighth in the English Premier League this season.

“We didn’t do ourselves justice,” a disappointed Liverpool midfielder, James Milner, told BT Sport on the pitch after the match.

“We didn’t think about the Champions League, it was about winning this trophy. We didn’t manage to get over the line,” Milner added.

Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp was equally disappointed. The German coach has now experienced five straight losses in major finals and pointed to a lack of belief in his players as reason for their poor second half showing.

“The start I was not happy with, but we scored a wonderful goal. What happened after (Sevilla’s equaliser) is the problem,” he said.

“We lost faith completely in our style of play. We lost shape and we were nervous in defense. That shows our development is not as good as hoped.”

For Sevilla, thoughts of its rival’s misfortunes were of little concern as ecstatic players danced and celebrated wildly in front of fans.

The Spanish side has taken near exclusive ownership of the Europa League trophy in recent years.

It racked-up back-to-back triumphs in 2014 and 2015, mirroring repeat UEFA Cup successes (the previous incarnation of the Europa League) achieved in 2006 and 2007.

Wednesday's victory also means Sevilla extends its record as the most successful club in Europa League history. It’s five triumphs are two more than Juventus, Inter Milan and Liverpool which are all tied on three apiece.

“We suffered a lot today, we’ve suffered all season,” said man-of-the-match Coke in comments carried by the official UEFA website after the match.

“When the game was most difficult and everything was looking uphill we showed that this team has courage and fighting spirit,” he continued.

Sevilla’s sporting director, Monchi, echoed Coke’s sentiments: “I’m lost for words. This is very difficult, but a huge achievement. The fans helped us a lot. I’m proud to be a Sevillista.”

The only blot on a near perfect evening for Sevilla was clashes close to the area housing its supporters inside the stadium before the game.

Scuffles briefly broke out after rival fans confronted each other but order was quickly restored by police.

Liverpool fans significantly outnumbered their Spanish counterparts and it appeared there was little segregation until police were forced to intervene.

Fortunately the violence didn't flare up again throughout the match and Sevilla fans were able to freely celebrate their side’s success on the full-time whistle. (BBC/CNN)

•Photo shows Sevilla players celebrating after beating Liverpool to win the 2016 UEFA Europa League final . . . last night in Basel, Switzerland .

Source Daily Sports

Posted May 19, 2016


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