Sevilla FC strikers Luis Fabiano and Frédéric Kanouté were in jubilant mood after the Spanish side retained the UEFA Cup with an epic victory against RCD Espanyol.
Both players found the net as the Andalusian club claimed their first European silverware against Middlesbrough FC a year ago, and Kanouté looked to have settled matters this time round as he put Sevilla 2-1 up with the final kick of the first period of extra time against opponents reduced to ten men. Espanyol refused to concede defeat, however, and Jônatas levelled again in the 115th minute, but Sevilla held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out that ensued to win 3-1. "Winning this trophy two years in a row is a great feeling," Fabiano told uefa.com. "Only Real Madrid [CF] had managed this feat before, so it was really important for us to win."
Kanouté's goal was his fourth in the competition this season and, having scored against both Middlesbrough and in the UEFA Super Cup triumph against FC Barcelona in August, has long since proved his worth on the big occasions. "We've done something unbelievable here," he told uefa.com. "Very few clubs have done what we've accomplished so we're very happy for that. The final was hard, much more difficult than last year and everybody had to fight very hard to win the trophy. Maybe we're even happier this year than last because to repeat what we did last year is even harder. It's a special feeling for all of us."
Sevilla triumphed 4-0 in Eindhoven a year ago but were pushed all the way by a determined and tireless Espanyol side, who equalised twice and were denied only by a masterful display of goalkeeping from Andrés Palop, who saved from Luis García, Jônatas and Marc Torrejón in the penalty shoot-out. "Palop was a huge player for us tonight," Fabiano said. "He made it easier for our penalty-takers by stopping their first effort. We had chances to have won the game more easily, but it wasn't to be. They scored late on and then we had the penalties. We had to go through a lot to get there, but in the end we did it and we're UEFA Cup winners again."
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