Five months after scoring the winning penalty in the World Cup final, Gonzalo Montiel converted the clinching spot kick in the Europa League final to earn Sevilla a seventh title in the competition at the expense of Jose Mourinho’s Roma on Wednesday.
The Argentina international sent Roma goalkeeper Rui Patrício the wrong way with his retaken penalty to seal a 4-1 win in the shootout for Sevilla after the match finished 1-1 after extra time in Budapest, where Mourinho was looking to maintain his record of having never lost a final in European competitions.
“I’ve won five finals and I lost this one, but I’m coming back home proud again,” Mourinho told Sky Sport Italy. “The boys gave everything.”
Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez failed to convert for Roma from the spot against Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou. Montiel missed his first attempt but had another chance with Patrício judged to have come off his line.
Sevilla has still never lost a final of the Europa League or its precursor, the UEFA Cup — the team also won the competition in 2006, ’07, ’14, ’15, ’16 and ’20 — and secured a place in next season’s Champions League.
At one time close to the relegation zone in the Spanish league and eliminated from the Champions League, it had looked like a season to forget for Sevilla. But it was not over yet. A new coach, José Luis Mendilibar came in and things turned around before enjoying his biggest career victory on Wednesday night.
Before the final, Mourinho actually had more European title wins than Mendilibar had total games managed in those same competitions. The 62-year-old Mendilibar’s career is peaking since joining then-struggling Sevilla just two months ago.
As Sevilla players celebrated on the field, Mourinho kept his calm and congratulated Sevilla on the victory.
“We lost a game but not dignity. I’ve never gone home prouder than today, even when I won,” Mourinho said. “Great match, great final. Intense, vibrant.”
After receiving his runners-up medal, Mourinho took it off and gave it to a young fan.
Paulo Dybala had put Roma ahead in the 35th minute at Puskás Aréna in the Hungarian capital. Mancini sent a through ball for Dybala who netted past Bounou with a left-footed low shot. The Argentina forward had recovered from an ankle injury in time to be declared fit for the final.
It was Dybala’s fifth goal of the Europa League, and 17th overall this season.
Sevilla was only slowly getting into the match but Ivan Rakitić came close to equalizing in first-half stoppage time with a low drive from some 20 meters (yards) that bounced off the post.
Mendilibar sent on midfielder Suso and forward Erik Lamela, a former Roma player, as substitutes at the start of the second half to rejuvenate his team.
Sevilla equalized through Mancini’s own-goal 10 minutes into the second half when he was under pressure from Youssef En-Nesyri. Captain Jesús Navas set up the goal with a cross from the right.
Navas, a 37-year-old veteran, was on the team that won Sevilla’s first Europa League title in 2006.
Substitute Andrea Belotti failed to beat Bounou in a one-on-one following Lorenzo Pellegrini’s free kick seven minutes from time. Suso had a long-distance shot saved by Patrício in the dying seconds.
Sevilla held the upper hand in extra time but didn’t create a clear scoring chance.
Roma defender Chris Smalling headed the ball into the crossbar at the end.
Replacing former Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli in March, Mendilibar became Sevilla’s third coach this season with the team just two points clear of the La Liga relegation zone. Mendilibar’s Sevilla has lost only two of 11 league games and is now one point off seventh place going into the final round this weekend.