Sevilla vs Benfica - Europa League final preview
Benfica will be aiming to make up for last season’s Europa League final heartbreak by clinching this year’s trophy with a win over Sevilla, who are looking to add to the UEFA Cup titles they won in 2006 and 2007.
Jorge Jesus’ side dominated most of the possession and territory as they lost to Chelsea a year ago, but struggled to break through an organised defence. This time around, they come into the final as favourites after an imperious season where they secured the Portuguese title with time to spare, and having lost just twice.
In the Europa League, they have been similarly tough to beat, with their slick counter-attacking football proving too much for Tottenham in the Round of 16. A comfortable win against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar followed, before a fine win over Juventus in the semi-finals, where they held on stoutly to deny the Italians a place in the final at their home stadium.
Sevilla have overcome an indifferent start in La Liga to lie fifth with one game still to play, and have happy memories of this competition in its previous guise, with a resounding victory over Middlesbrough and a nervy penalty shootout success against rivals Espanyol providing them with European silverware for two successive years.
They come into this one as the underdogs however, having reached the final in dramatic circumstances against fellow La Liga club Valencia. Leading 2-0 after the first leg, they found themselves losing 3-0 before a last-gasp away goal sent them through. This is a side that has come a long way from the one which struggled through a group containing Slovan Liberec, Freiburg and Estoril Praia.
The Portuguese champions are without suspended duo Eduardo Salvio and Enzo Perez, while defender Silvio also misses out through injury.
Midfielders Denis Cheryshev and Sebastian Christoforo are both out injured for Sevilla, who are also unable to call upon Jairo Samperio, who is suspended.
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