Sevilla FC and SL Benfica will take a cumulative total of 499 European games into the UEFA Europa League showpiece on 14 May. They had zero before their first.
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When Sevilla FC and SL Benfica contest the UEFA Europa League final in Turin on 14 May, it will be their second tie in UEFA club competition. We recall the first, a momentus encounter for each side.
19/09/1957: Sevilla 3-1 Benfica (Pahuet 46, Iborra 59, Pepillo 79; Palmeiro 48)
Sevilla gave their fans something to cheer in what was the first game of both teams' debut continental campaign. Vicente Pahuet opened the scoring in the first leg of this European Champion Clubs' Cup preliminary round tie and though Francisco Palmeiro levelled, Antonio Iborra put the hosts back in front. Pepillo then sealed a two-goal advantage late on at the Estadio de Nervión, their home until 1958.
"After games back then, the teams ate together," said Pahuet, part of the Sevilla outfit that had finished runners-up to Real Madrid CF in the Liga the previous season. "That day was great. I'm not a handsome man but the club directors were all coming up to me saying, 'Oh, Pahuet, you are just gorgeous.'"
26/09/1957: Benfica 0-0 Sevilla (agg: 1-3)
Sevilla goalkeeper José María Busto was in inspired form in the Lisbon return leg a week later – a match played in the afternoon since the arrival of floodlights at the Estádio da Luz was still nine months away. The visitors, who had a goal from Pahuet ruled out, therefore progressed against the Portuguese title holders. "Perhaps it is better like this," said Benfica coach Otto Glória. "Now we can concentrate on the league."
The Andalusian club ousted AGF Aarhus in the first round but coach Satur Grech was dismissed before their quarter-final date with reigning and eventual champions Real Madrid. Sevilla, who came within two points of Spanish top-flight relegation that term, suffered a 10-2 aggregate defeat at the hands of Alfredo Di Stéfano and company.
Indeed, Madrid would win the first five editions of the competition before Benfica ended their reign in 1960/61. Only three members of that 1957 team started the final against FC Barcelona: Angelo Martins, Mário Coluna and Domiciano Cavém. Hungarian Béla Guttmann was by then at the helm – the extra focus on the league did not benefit Glória's side and he left in 1959.