Sevilla fight back to beat Juventus and reach Europa League final
Sevilla, the Europa League specialists, made a remarkable comeback to secure their place in yet another final. In a gritty match against Juventus, substitute Erik Lamela became the hero with a fantastic header five minutes into extra time, giving Sevilla a hard-fought 2-1 victory and a 3-2 aggregate win.
Sevilla will now aim for a record-extending seventh Europa League title when they face AS Roma in the final on May 31 in Budapest. AS Roma secured their spot in the final with a goalless draw against Bayer Leverkusen, earning a 1-0 aggregate victory in their semifinal.
Initially, Juventus appeared on track to reach the final after substitute Dusan Vlahovic scored a neat finish in the 65th minute, giving them the lead. However, Sevilla's midfielder Suso responded with a stunning long-range strike just six minutes later, leveling the game and forcing it into extra time. It was then that Lamela sealed the victory for Sevilla, rising above the crowded area to score a towering header and delight the fans.
For Sevilla, it was an emotional night as they once again showcased their prowess in their favorite competition, the Europa League, after a challenging season. Having struggled in LaLiga and with two managerial changes, Sevilla found their rhythm after exiting the Champions League. They defeated PSV Eindhoven, Fenerbahce, and Manchester United before triumphing over Juventus.
Sevilla captain Jesus Navas expressed his joy, describing the moment as madness and incredible. He praised the fans for their unwavering support and highlighted the team's courage to bounce back from a tough period. Navas emphasized that it was their turn to savor the success and enjoy the journey.
Similar to the first leg, where Sevilla controlled the game but conceded a late equalizer, they dominated possession once again in front of their passionate supporters at the sold-out Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny played a crucial role, making several impressive saves, including a one-handed stop to deny Navas' diving header.
Just as Sevilla seemed to be in control but wasteful in front of goal, Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic came off the bench and opened the scoring. However, Suso quickly responded with a powerful shot that found the top corner, igniting the crowd and increasing the pressure on Juventus. Lamela's winning goal in extra time secured Sevilla's victory, although the team suffered a setback with Marcos Acuna being sent off for time-wasting and subsequently missing the final in Budapest.