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Sevilla beats Benfica in Europa League final
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Beto saved two spot kicks from Benfica forwards Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo, whose stutter-step approaches to the ball didn’t fool the goalkeeper.
Substitute Kevin Gameiro stepped up to score the decisive kick at the end of the stadium where Sevilla fans stood and cheered. They have seen this story before.
Sevilla beat rival Real Betis on penalties in the round of 16, and also won this competition in 2007 in a shootout.
Benfica dominated regulation time yet failed to score, and extended its streak of losing European finals to eight matches over 52 years.
Sevilla entered the tournament only after UEFA denied two Spanish clubs places because of financial problems. It also had 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. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid meet in the Champions League final on May 24.
Next month Spain will defend its World Cup crown in Brazil, seeking a record fourth straight major international trophy after winning the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.
Portuguese champion Benfica, however, has not won a continental trophy since its greatest player, Eusebio, led it to European Cup titles in 1961 and ‘62.
Four months after Eusebio died, the Lisbon club missed another chance to snap the drought on Wednesday as it returned to the scene of its semifinal triumph against Juventus. Despite its strong play for 120 minutes, Benfica went home empty again.
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