UEFA Europa League Classics: Valencia 3-1 Sevilla
Thursday, May 7, 2020
The background on a thrilling 2013/14 UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg before you watch it on UEFA.tv.
Article top media content
Valencia looked to have pulled off a second remarkable second-leg comeback in as many rounds but, deep into added time, Sevilla won a throw-in and piled men forward...
Sevilla's pursuit of a record-equalling third UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League title was not without obstacles. They overcame a 2-0 home loss to beat city rivals Real Betis on penalties in the last 16, then recovered from a first-leg reversal in Porto in the quarter-finals. A 2-0 win against coach Unai Emery's former employers Valencia hinted at an easier ride in the semis – wishful thinking, it turned out.
Stéphane Mbia On loan from Queens Park Rangers, the Cameroonian was a formidable defensive midfielder also used at the heart of the defence, though his back-heel goal in the first leg showcased his cuter side.
Sofiane Feghouli The French-born wide midfielder's silky skills and eye for goal meant the Algerian international was always one to fear: on his day he was capable of running the show.
Jérémy Mathieu A third player schooled in France, Mathieu was a big plus in a season that brought a few minuses for Valencia, the centre-back producing the sort of form that would soon bring Barcelona calling.
Having come from 3-0 down to oust Basel in the last eight, Valencia's powers of recovery were again on display as Juan Antonio Pizzi's side cancelled out their first-leg deficit inside 26 minutes. Feghouli's deflected strike set the hosts on their way and it was all-square after birthday boy Beto's own goal.
Mathieu's second-half effort then appeared to have won it but Mbia had other ideas. With 94 minutes on the clock, Federico Fazio flicked on a long throw and Mbia rose imperiously to plant a firm header into the back of the net.
Carlos Bacca, Sevilla forward: "I do not know if this is the best experience I've had on the pitch but being in a European final is very nice; thank God we made it! We fought until the last second with our strengths and weaknesses."
Ivan Rakitić, Sevilla midfielder: "There aren't words to explain this match. Thank God this match has gone so well. Now we have to go on [and win]. But first we'll enjoy this."
Diego Alves, Valencia goalkeeper: "This is a sad day, the saddest day I have experienced at Valencia. We did as much as we could. There is nothing to criticise, we had a good match. We paid for not having scored a goal in the first leg."
Elsewhere that night
Heading into the last 20 minutes a Valencia vs Juventus final was on the cards. The Italian team trailed Benfica 2-1 from the first leg but they were all over the ten-man visitors in Turin, venue for the season's showpiece. Yet in Jan Oblak they encountered a talented young goalkeeper in the midst of a run of ten games without conceding; and the Portuguese side held on.
The familiar refrain of the final being "50-50 all the way" proved decidedly accurate as the title match went to penalties following a 0-0 draw. Mbia was among four Sevilla players to convert from the spot but goalkeeper Beto was the hero this time as Benfica were consigned to an eighth successive European final defeat. The Spanish club defended their crown 12 months later, repeating the feat in 2016!