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Sevilla are Europa League kings

Sevilla defeated Roma after a penalty shoot-out to lift a record-extending seventh Europa League crown at the Puskas Arena in Budapest this evening.

The La Liga club went into proceedings unbeaten in all six finals they featured in, while Roma boss Jose Mourinho had a 100% win ratio in European showpiece fixtures to protect.

After guiding the Giallorossi to Europa Conference League glory last season, the Special One set his sights on becoming the first-ever manager to win the Europa League with three different clubs.

Paulo Dybala handed his manager a dream start, slotting the ball past Sevilla goalkeeper Bono with a top-class finish after receiving an inch-perfect through ball from Gianluca Mancini in the 35th minute.

Roma looked far better than their opposition until that point, controlling the tempo and deploying a high press, even though clear-cut chances were hard to come by in the opening half an hour.

However, Dybala’s deadlock-breaker sent Mourinho a signal to drop his lines deep in an effort to hold onto a narrow lead until half-time, which nearly came back to bite the Italians.

Sevilla vice-captain Ivan Rakitic unleashed a long-rance thunderbolt in the first-half stoppage-time, only to see his devastating attempt rattle off the far post.

Sevilla boss Jose Luis Mendilibar made two changes at half-time, introducing semi-final Erik Lamela and Suso at the expense of Bryan Gil and Oliver Torres, who endured a nightmarish first half.

Los Rojiblancos took the pitch in the second half with a different mentality, denying Roma possession in search of a quick equaliser.

Mourinho’s defensive approach after taking the lead finally backfired on the Giallorossi in the 55th minute as Mancini scored an unfortunate own-goal after Lucas Ocampos whipped in a dangerous cross from the right flank.

Sevilla’s leveller proved a blessing in disguise for Roma, forcing Mourinho to move his troops forward, which almost led to the second goal.

Lorenzo Pellegrini sent in an inviting cross from the resulting free-kick, but Bono made a couple of crucial stops to avert the danger after a scrappy play inside his six-yard box.

Roma were fortunate to weather the storm in the 76th minute. Referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot after Ocampos fell inside the box following Roger Ibanez’s challenge.

But after consulting with the side-pitch monitor, the English referee overturned his initial decision, handing the Italians a lifeline in the Budapest final.

It was a wake-up call for Roma. Only minutes after, they had a glorious opportunity to reclaim the lead, but second-half substitute Andrea Belotti failed to hit the target from point-blank.

Despite Sevilla’s genuine effort to complete a second-half comeback in the latter stages, the game went to extra time.

Several ugly scenes at the Puskas Arena saw Mourinho’s time-wasting tactics at their best, yet Roma had a monumental chance to steal a victory in the dying seconds.

Chris Smalling found himself unmarked on the far post, connecting his header with Nicola Zalewski’s corner-kick delivery, only for the ball to hit the crossbar.

As often happens in the Europa League, Sevilla survived late drama and lifted the trophy after a penalty shoot-out, taking their tally to seven.

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