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Finalist profile: Sevilla

Published: Monday 5 May 2014, 13.39CET
Displaying their usual penchant for the dramatic in this season's UEFA Europa League, Sevilla FC – UEFA Cup champions in 2006 and 2007 – are looking for a third triumph.
by Santi Retortillo

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Published: Monday 5 May 2014, 13.39CET

Finalist profile: Sevilla

Displaying their usual penchant for the dramatic in this season's UEFA Europa League, Sevilla FC – UEFA Cup champions in 2006 and 2007 – are looking for a third triumph.

En route to winning back-to-back UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007, Sevilla FC enjoyed two tournament defining moments, while this season's path to the UEFA Europa League final has proved just as incident-filled for the Andalusian side.

A semi-final goal in extra-time against FC Schalke 04 by fallen hero Antonio Puerta secured Sevilla's passage through to the 2005/06 showpiece while goalkeeper Andrés Palop's header in the fourth minute of injury time away to FC Shakhtar Donetsk proved crucial in taking the holders into the quarter-finals the following season. This time around, Stéphane Mbia will be remembered as the man who supplied the magic moment in Sevilla's final run after the 27-year-old loanee from Queens Park Rangers FC headed his team through in the last seconds against Valencia CF at the Mestalla.

Story of the season
Exactly nine months passed between Sevilla's first game in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League and the night on which they achieved qualification for the final away to Valencia. Having come through 18 games - which began with a third qualifying round win against FK Mladost Podgorica - coach Unai Emery will now look to continue the legacy of Juande Ramos, who oversaw the club's two previous UEFA Cup triumphs.

After accounting for WKS Śląsk Wrocław in a play-off last August, Sevilla went on to emerge unbeaten and on top of a section that included FC Slovan Liberec, SC Freiburg and Estoril Praia. A round of 32 triumph against NK Maribor set up a last 16 meeting with city rivals Real Betis Balompié. With Los Verdiblancos inflicting a first defeat in the tournament on Emery's charges, a response was required in the return, which Sevilla supplied, before advancing on penalties. FC Porto were subsequently vanquished at the quarter-final stage before another all-Liga encounter against Valencia transpired. Leading the tie 3-2 in the closing stages of the second leg, Valencia would eventually succumb Mbia's injury time heroics.

Final pedigree
P2 W2 L0
Last, 2006/07: RCD Espanyol 2-2 Sevilla FC (Sevilla win 3-1 on penalties, Hampden Park, Glasgow)

Record against final opponents
Sevilla finished the 1956/57 Liga campaign in second place behind Real Madrid CF. However, thanks to the league champions' European Cup triumph that season, the southern Spanish side were invited to compete for the continent's greatest club prize along with the tournament holders. It was in their inaugural European Cup campaign that Sevilla met Benfica for the first - and to date only - time. Sevilla won the first leg of the preliminary round encounter by 3-1 before earning a scoreless draw in Lisbon to advance. Their tournament would eventually end at the hands of Madrid in the quarter-finals.

Key moment
Trailing 3-0 to a Valencia side that looked to have produced another memorable comeback in this season's UEFA Europa League, Sevilla's cause looked lost after they squandered a 2-0 first leg lead. With the clock heading towards the 94th minute, a long throw-in from Coke was flicked on by Federico Fazio for Cameroon international Mbia to change the destiny of the semi-final with his headed goal.

There are almost no words to explain this night, to explain this game. Thank god things ended this way, in our favour. 
Sevilla captain Ivan Rakitić after his side's dramatic progress to this season's final.

Top scorer
Coach Unai Emery has found an admirable balance between Colombian forward Carlos Bacca - who has four goals in this season's tournament - and his attacking team-mate Kevin Gameiro. It is the French international with five goals - four in the group stage and one against FC Porto in the quarter-finals - who leads the way in the Sevilla scoring stakes, however.

Unsung hero
Up against it against rivals Betis in the round of 16, Sevilla achieved a 2-0 away win to send the tie into extra time. Full-back Alberto Moreno played a starring role in the second leg at the Benito Villamarín, providing goal assists for José Antonio Reyes and Bacca, before Emery's team advanced on penalties.

Last updated: 14/05/14 8.59CET

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