Sevilla crowned Europa League Champions for the fourth time, defeat Dnipro in a thriller

WARSAW, Poland: Sevilla won the Europa League for a record fourth time, with two goals from Carlos Bacca steering the Spanish club to a 3-2 win over Ukraine's Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Wednesday's final.

The final whistle prompted tearful celebrations from Sevilla, which retained the title it won last season and earned a spot in next year's Champions League, a prize offered this season to the Europa League winner by UEFA for the first time.

"We want to be ambitious in terms of moving forward," Sevilla coach Unai Emery said. "Obviously we want more but we now have more because we have the Champions League and we will enjoy that fully."

 Sevilla crowned Europa League Champions for the fourth time, defeat Dnipro in a thriller

The Europa League specialists will graduate to Champions League next season. Getty Images.

Sevilla's success means there will be five Spanish teams in the Champions League next season, matching the record set by English clubs in 2005-06.

Sevilla rallied from a goal down early in the first half to lead 2-1 through goals from first Grzegorz Krychowiak then Bacca, before a free-kick from Dnipro's Ruslan Rotan made it 2-2 at the break.

Bacca scored the 73rd-minute winner off a pass from Vitolo when Dnipro's defense struggled to clear the ball.

"(Bacca) has great skills and qualities and he's an extraordinarily competitive player. He wants more and more. You can call it hunger. He doesn't want to reach that ceiling," Emery said.

"He wants to be the best player in the Champions League next season, for example. That's his objective."

Dnipro coach Myron Markevych also paid tribute to the forward.

"We knew that Bacca would play as a very aggressive striker. Unfortunately, today we allowed him to do that," he said. "The third goal, well, we earned it ourselves. We should have just kicked the ball away."

Late in the game, Dnipro's Brazilian winger Matheus was carried off after he collapsed suddenly on the pitch while play had stopped. Dnipro coach Markevych said he was recovering.

Sevilla controlled the tempo of the game throughout and enjoyed most of the possession, but it was always vulnerable on the counter against a Dnipro team boasting the pacy Matheus and Yevhen Konoplyanka on the wings.

Markevych opted to start Nikola Kalinic up front in place of Yevhen Seleznyov, who was the star with goals against Napoli in the semifinals but had sustained an injury. That decision swiftly paid off as Kalinic slipped his marker on seven minutes to score with a downward header off a cross from Matheus.

Sevilla's response came on 28 minutes when Krychowiak equalized with a low right-foot shot after an extended period of Sevilla pressure, the Polish midfielder sparking wild celebrations among the many local fans in the Warsaw's National Stadium.

"It tasted good, very good. This was a moment that I will never forget," he said.

Sevilla made it 2-1 just three minutes later, with Bacca springing the Dnipro offside trap and rounding the keeper before slotting the ball low into the unguarded net.

Rotan's free kick ensured the teams went into the break level. Shooting from the edge of the box, the Dnipro captain seemed to confuse the Sevilla defense by taking his free-kick almost without a run-up, adding a wicked curl to take it past the wall and 21-year-old goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

After a quiet start to the second half, Sevilla's breakthrough came when Jaba Kankava struggled to clear the ball and it fell to Vitolo, who played in Bacca with a smartly-weighted through-ball.

The Colombian lashed it low past Boyko for his seventh Europa League goal of the season, and was booked for a lengthy celebration in which he posed with his country's flag.

Soon after his goal, Bacca was inches away from a hat-trick, his header deflected, and then he sent a header wide from the resulting corner.

Emery refused to comment on speculation linking him with the vacant Real Madrid job.

"Of course I have a contract (with Sevilla)," he said. "We will be talking about possible conditions to change that contract once the season in Spain ends."

For Dnipro, defeat ended a successful season for a team which had been unable to play a single European game at home because of the conflict in the east of Ukraine. While Dnipropetrovsk is outside the conflict zone, UEFA security restrictions meant the team had to travel 250 miles to the capital, Kiev, for "home" games.

Repeatedly cast in the role of the underdog, Dnipro beat former winners of the competition such as Ajax and Napoli on its way to the final.

AP

Updated Date: May 28, 2015 11:25:02 IST



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