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UEFA Europa League 2022/23 Final – Recap

The UEFA Europa League final was played on Wednesday May 31 and had a kind of clash of records, of which, inevitably, one would continue and the other would be broken. On the one hand, As Roma manager Jose Mourinho, with his 5 European finals won with his many different teams out of the 5 he coached, and on the other, Sevilla CF, who are the kings of this competition, having won it 6 times in the 6 finals in which they participated.

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Both clubs were coming off considerably different seasons: AS Roma continued Mourinho’s project after he led them to win the UEFA Conference League last season. Instead, the Andalusian team had three managers during this season (Julen Lopetegui, Jorge Sampaoli and who currently leads the team, José Luis Mendilibar) due to huge inconsistency in their performances that had them in relegation places during portions of the season.

The Puskas Arena in Budapest received around 61 thousand fans who were going to witness a new final of the second most important club football competition in Europe. Paulo Dybala’s name in the Roma starting eleven came as a surprise to many after the Portuguese manager himself said that he was only going to be available for 20 or 30 minutes. The Argentinian had a couple of good chances leaning to the left of the Sevilla defence and early attacks from the Italian seemed to be taking advantage of left-back Alex Telles’ defensive weaknesses.

In the 35th minute, Cristante managed to take the ball from Rakitic and leave it to Mancini so that he could pass it to Dybala, who entered the box and finished off a cross to score the game’s first goal. Mourinho’s team surprised Sevilla with their more attacking-minded attitude, something not usually associated with the Portuguese manager’s teams. Roma was the better team and it was throughout the first half except for a couple of chances for the Andalusians.

For the second part, though, Sevilla changed their attitude and began to create more chances that, without necessarily being clear, showed a different image from the one seen in the first half. In the 55th minute, Jesús Navas faced Spinazzola, launched a cross that deflected past Mancini, and ended up inside Rui Patricio’s goal. With the game now even, the temperature and tension in the match were increasing and opportunities arose for both teams with some referee decisions that caused some discomfort on both sides, especially in the Italian team.

The game would end the 90 minutes in a draw and reach the extra time where both had goal opportunities but failed to score any of them. Penalty shootouts were inevitable and after a good three first penalties, Mancini, scorer of the game-tying own goal, shot into the middle of the goal, allowing Bono to stop the shot with his feet. Another missed penalty by Ibáñez, left Montiel in another favorable situation in a final, where after a failed first attempt, he managed to score and give Sevilla CF their seventh trophy of the competition and break Mourinho’s streak of European finals.

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