By Alan Duffy
Sevilla 0-0 Benfica (4-2 pens) – Europa League Final – 14th May 2014
Poor old Benfica’s Euro-curse reared it’s ugly head once again as Sevilla won the Europa League final in Turin on penalties, making it eight straight European finals that the Portuguese giants have lost.
Benfica were the better of the two sides over the whole of the 120 minutes although Colombian striker Carlos Bacca did miss a great late chance to win the game for Sevilla. However, ultimately it was a penalty shoot-put which would settle things, although in my opinion the bizarre bright red elbow patches the Sevilla staff wore on their jackets deserved to win them the whole thing.
The shoot-out was a rather one-sided affair with veteran Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo both missing with their spot-kicks for Benfica while each one of Sevilla’s penalty takers finished superbly, including Stephane M’Bia on loan from QPR!
I suggest Benfica hire Derek Acorah ahead of next season to rid the club of the ghost of Bela Guttmann.
(FYI: Benfica’s Hungarian coach of the early sixties, Bela Guttmann, led the side to back-to-back European Cups. He left the Stadium of Light shortly after the second of those triumphs after being refused a pay rise for his achievements, before declaring that Benfica would never win another European competition without him at the helm.
Seven defeats in major European finals later have led one or two people at the Portuguese club to think there might be something in “Guttmann’s curse” after all…)