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Palop ensures cup joy for Sevilla

Published: Thursday 17 May 2007, 0.58CET
RCD Espanyol 2-2 Sevilla FC (aet, Sevilla win 3-1 on penalties) Andrés Palop saved three spot-kicks as the holders edged a thrilling final.
by Andrew Haslam
from Hampden Park
Published: Thursday 17 May 2007, 0.58CET

Palop ensures cup joy for Sevilla

RCD Espanyol 2-2 Sevilla FC (aet, Sevilla win 3-1 on penalties) Andrés Palop saved three spot-kicks as the holders edged a thrilling final.

Andrés Palop saved three shoot-out penalties as Sevilla FC became the second side to retain the UEFA Cup despite twice losing the lead as they finally defeated ten-man RCD Espanyol 3-1 on spot-kicks after a gripping contest in Glasgow.

Trophy retained
The holders, bidding to emulate Real Madrid CF who lifted this trophy in 1985 and 1986, took an 18th-minute lead through Adriano Correia only for Albert Riera to level ten minutes later. Espanyol, who also lost the 1988 final on penalties, were hit by the second-half dismissal of Moisés Hurtado but still managed to take the game into extra time. Frédéric Kanouté – who also scored in last year's final – restored Sevilla's advantage but again Espanyol fought back through Jônatas's deflected drive and it took the drama of a shoot-out, where Palop saved from Luis García, Jônatas and Marc Torrejón to finally end their hopes.

Experienced side
Sevilla coach Juande Ramos started with nine of the team who were involved in last year's final victory and initially it seemed that experience would prove crucial as the holders began the brighter. Espanyol then found their feet and started to pose problems of their own, as David García discovered space down the left and sent in a low cross that was cleverly dummied by Luis García for captain Raúl Tamudo to prod in a low shot that Palop gathered comfortably.

Adriano opener
Moisés was then allowed to advance towards the Sevilla penalty area and hit a low shot that forced the Sevilla goalkeeper to dive to his right and palm the ball behind. Seconds later a goal arrived - but at the other end as Palop caught the resulting corner and swiftly freed Adriano down the left with a searching throw. The Brazilian skipped past the lunge of David García and cut in towards goal before beating Gorka Iraizoz with a calm finish.

Riera response
Suddenly Sevilla were on top and another foray down the same flank almost brought further reward as left-back Ivica Dragutinović's low cross flashed across the face of goal with no one from either side there to meet it. Just as it looked as if the holders were taking control, however, they were pegged back. Riera skipped past Daniel Alves on the corner of the penalty area and, with time and space, produced a shot which took a crucial deflection off the Sevilla right-back and looped beyond Palop's dive.

Palop in action
The second period picked up where the first had left off and both goalkeepers were pressed into service in the opening moments although Palop was the more severely tested, first palming over Tamudo's shot after good work from Iván de la Peña and then denying Riera a spectacular second goal, clawing over the midfielder's thunderous angled volley with the help of the crossbar.

Red card
Espanyol then lost Moisés to a red card and Sevilla began to press back their opponents as they sought to exploit their numerical advantage but Espanyol survived to take the game into extra time, where that defensive excellence continued until Sevilla’s slick passing finally yielded tangible reward with the final kick of the first extra period as Kanouté flicked in Jesús Navas's right-wing cross from close range. That looked to have finally ended Espanyol's challenge but somehow Ernesto Valverde’s men roused themselves yet again.

Jônatas equaliser
With five minutes left, substitute Jônatas advanced to beat Palop with a strike that deflected off Christian Poulsen to take the final to its dramatic conclusion, where Kanouté, Dragutinović and Antonio Puerta all scored in the shoot-out for the winners. Alves blazed Sevilla's third penalty over the bar but it mattered little as Palop saved three times, Walter Pandiani the only Espanyol player to find the net.

Last updated: 28/09/14 1.56CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2006/matches/round=2370/match=300100/postmatch/report/index.html#palop+ensures+sevilla

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