Cologne (dpa) – In the empty Cologne stadium, the record winners of FC Sevilla performed wild dances of joy and celebrated their coach Julen Lopetegui. At Inter Milan, however, the tragic hero Romelu Lukaku trudged off the field.
After a crazy and heated final, the Spaniards won the Europa League again with a furious final act. Seville defeated the Italian runner-up 3-2 (2-2) in the final in Cologne after a spectacular overhead kick by Diego Carlos and thus remained undefeated in their sixth final in the second most important European club competition since 2006.
“I can’t put it into words. This team deserves it. We fought so hard and went through difficult times,” said captain Jesus Navas, who was one of the first two triumphs. Above all, the loud support from the delegation in the stands helped. “It’s a big family, that gave us a lot.”
For Italy, the wait continues in the small European Cup: Most recently, a Serie A club won the previous UEFA Cup competition in 1999. “We have to keep going and hope that we get more important games in the future. The foundation is there,” said Inter-keeper Samir Handanovic.
The decision came in the 74th minute, when Inter striker Romelu Lukaku deflected an overhead kick from Carlos into his own goal. Previously, the former Mönchengladbacher Luuk de Jong, who had already scored the winning goal in the 2-1 in the semifinals against Manchester United as a joker, scored a brace (12th / 33rd) for the team of former national coach Julen Lopetegui. Lukaku (5th, penalty kick) and Diego Godin (36th) scored for Inter.
Lukaku and de Jong set new records. The Belgian Inter striker extended his record streak, scored in the eleventh Europa League game in a row and also scored the earliest final goal in the history of the competition. De Jong was the first player to score two header goals in a European Cup final. Nor had more than four goals been scored in the first half of a Europa League or UEFA Cup final.
There weren’t any spectators, of course, but it was already quite loud in the RheinEnergieStadion before kick-off. The substitutes and delegation members of the Spaniards clapped and sang loudly and at some point the Italians felt challenged to counter. And on the field, too, things got down to business from the first second. There were fouls, nicks and an early goal, typically from a foul penalty. Lukaku got him out himself when he passed the ball past Diego Carlos on a counterattack and was knocked over. But Sevilla hit back early when de Jong headed in a cross from Jesús Navas from five meters.
And it continued heatedly: In the 17th minute, Inter coach Antonio Conte demanded another penalty after a supposed handball so vehemently that he had to be prevented by an assistant from running onto the pitch and saw the yellow card. Referee Danny Makkelie could have warned some players much earlier, but the Dutchman’s line was clearly a mild one, so as not to stir up the mood any further. He sternly ignored the attempts to influence both sides.
Both teams played refreshingly and uncompromisingly forward. This time de Jong headed Sevilla in the lead, but it only lasted three minutes. On the way to the dressing room, there were heated discussions between players from both camps and the referees.
After the break, both played at least a little more controlled, both in terms of fouls and tactical negligence. The overhead kick deflected by Lukaku was then the perfect punchline in a strange game.