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Sevilla will take on Benfica in the 2014 UEFA Europa League final at Juventus Stadium, Turin on Wednesday.
The Spanish club made it to the final of the second tier of the European competition by defeating Valencia on away goals. Meanwhile, Benfica sealed a place in the final by defeating Juventus in the last four of the competition.
The Italian champions were short of one goal as the Portuguese outfit defeated Juventus 2-1 on aggregate. A win for the Serie A club would have seen them being involved in the final of the Europa League in front of their home fans.
How Did They Fare in Semi Final
The first leg between Sevilla and Valencia ended in a 2-0 victory for Unai Emery’s side, courtesy to goals from Stéphane Mbia and Carlos Bacca. The second leg saw a dramatic twist and turns.
Valencia made a comeback in the game by scoring three goals in the Europa League return leg semi final clash. Sofiane Feghouli and Jérémy Mathieu’s goals sandwiched between an own goal from Beto saw Valencia edge closer towards a place in the final in Turin.
However, it was Mbia’s late strike in the stoppage time saw the scores being level on aggregate, with Sevilla progressing to the final on away goals.
Meanwhile, Benfica had not much of a trouble when compared to their final opponents. The Portuguese champions were given a lead by Manchester United target Ezequiel Garay earlier in the first leg of the semi final clash.
Former United and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez netted the equaliser for Juventus, which was the Argentine international’s first and the only goal in the European competition. However, Lima put Jorge Jesus’ side ahead once again in the 84th minute as Benfica won 2-1.
The second leg at Juventus Stadium ended in a goalless draw, resulting in Benfica’s progress to the final 2-1 on aggregate.
Road to Turin
- Last 32 – 4-3 (Agg) vs Maribor
- Last 16 – 2-2 (Agg) vs Real Betis
- Quarter-final – 4-2 (Agg) vs Porto
- Semi-final – 3-3 (Agg) vs Valencia
- Last 32 – 4-0 (Agg) vs PAOK
- Last 16 – 5-3 (Agg) vs Tottenham Hotspur
- Quarter-final – 3-0 (Agg) vs AZ
- Semi-final – 2-1 (Agg) vs Juventus
Felix Brych for this season’s Europa League final between Sevilla and Benfica, with his German compatriots Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp being Brych’s assistants.
Brych was the fourth official for the 2013 Europa League final between Chelsea and Benfica, which was won the Blues under the managerial guidance of Rafael Benitez.
Sevilla has won the Europa League on two occasions. The Spanish club first achieved this feat by defeating English club Middlesbrough 4-0 in the finals during the 2005/06 season.
The La Liga outfit won the second Europa League trophy the next campaign and were successful in rating the Europa League for two consecutive years.
Should Sevilla defeat Benfica on Wednesday evening in Turin, they will be the fourth club after Juventus, Inter Milan and Liverpool to have won the competition in three occasions.
Benfica has never won the second tier of European club competition and have made it to the finals in the last two years. Jesus would be hoping his side could seal a victory over Sevilla and lift their first Europa League trophy.
What Managers Say
Unai Emery (Sevilla): “This is something you have to live in the moment. Sevilla have experienced it before. Today there’s a great reminder of the great spirit of Palop, a huge reminder of Antonio Puerta, his spirit was with us today.”
“The energy of Mbia in this final play reminds me of Bakero in Kaiserslautern, of Iniesta against Chelsea. This is something you have to experience and feel to understand, more than I can explain it.”
Jorge Jesus (Benfica): “Mentally, they are a different animal. Gone is the pervading sense of entitlement to success which preceded last year’s collapse, replaced by a simple conviction that complacency is not an option.”
“Since an opening-day defeat to Maritimo, Benfica have not lost a league game and have been top since beating Porto 2-0 in January. When they switched off with the tie almost over against Spurs to fall 2-1 down at home, they had to respond. They did.”
Recent Form (All Competitions)
Sevilla’s last fixture saw them suffer a 1-0 defeat in the La Liga to Getafe away from home. Sergio Escudero’s goal in the 70th minute was the difference between the two sides at the end as Emery’s side extended their winless run in last four matches played in all competitions.
Last Five Games: L D L L W
Last Result: Getafe 1-0 Sevilla
Meanwhile, Benfica come into this fixture after losing the final game of the season 2-1 to FC Porto at Estádio do Dragão. Ricardo Pereira opened the scoring for the home side in the fourth minute, which was then cancelled by Enzo Perez’s penalty just before the half hour mark.
However, Jackson Martínez’s penalty in the 39th minute helped Porto seal a victory over Benfica. Despite the defeat, Jesus’ side have managed to win the Portuguese league this season.
Last Five Game: L D D W W
Last Result: FC Porto 2-1 Benfica
Emery has few injury worries as Sevilla heads into the crucial final clash against the Portuguese champions. France international Kevin Gameiro could be doubtful after reportedly picking up a knee injury. Mbia and Ivan Rakitic will be the key players in Sevilla’s midfield.
Benfica will we without the services of three key players Enzo Perez, Lazar Markovic and Eduardo Salvio as the trio will miss the finals due to suspension. Sílvio remains out on the sidelines due to injury, while Ezequiel Garay is still trying to be fit for the finals.
Probable Starting Line Up
Sevilla (4-2-3-1): Beto; Navarro, Pareja, Fazio, Coke; Carriço, Mbia; Vitolo, Rakitic, Reyes; Bacca
Benfica (4-4-2): Moraes; Pereira, Luisão, Garay, Siqueira; Djuricic, Gomes, Amorim, Gaitán; Rodrigo, Lima