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Sevilla beats Benfica in Europa Lge on penalties
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TURIN, Italy (AP) - Penalty specialists Sevilla beat Benfica 4-2 in a shootout to win the Europa League after a 0-0 draw in the final on Wednesday, claiming another international title for Spanish football.
Substitute Kevin Gameiro stepped up to score the decisive kick as the drama played out at the end housing Sevilla fans who have seen this story before.
Sevilla had ousted city rival Real Betis on penalties in the last-16 round, and also won this competition in 2007 in a shootout.
The Portuguese champion had dominated regulation time yet failed to score, and extended its streak of losing European finals to eight matches over 52 years.
Sevilla had seemed destined to win a competition it entered only after UEFA denied two Spanish clubs places because of financial problems. It had also been seconds from elimination in the semifinals against another Spanish team, Valencia.
“We know how to suffer and we know how to fight. I think the result was fair,” said Sevilla coach Unai Emery. “It’s a very special evening.”
Sevilla, which won the competition for the third time in nine seasons, ensured Spain will sweep the season-ending European club competitions, with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid meeting in the Champions League final on May 24.
Next month Spain will defend its World Cup crown in Brazil and seek to clinch a record fourth straight major international trophy after winning the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.
Benfica, however, has not won a continental trophy since its greatest player, Eusebio, inspired two straight European Cup titles in 1961 and ‘62.
Four months after Eusebio died aged 71, the Lisbon club missed another chance to end the unwanted record.
Benfica returned to the scene of its semifinals triumph against Juventus
and the match kicked off with patches of empty sets in the Italian champion’s stadium.
Three early opportunities for Sevilla broke down for Carlos Bacca’s lack of finishing. The Colombia forward failed to shoot when collecting a pass across the goalmouth, drifted offside in a fast break started by captain Ivan Rakitic, and then could not connect with Rakitic’s angled low cross.
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