Sevilla making up for barren past
Monday, August 21, 2006
Sevilla FC's first UEFA Super Cup appearance will see the Andalusian club break new ground after a less than glittering history in Europe.
The glory Sevilla are now experiencing, including a UEFA Super Cup debut, is new ground for the Andalusian club who had previously had little to shout about outside of domestic action. They took their continental bow in 1957/58 when they entered the European Champion Clubs' Cup and beat SL Benfica 3-1 in the preliminary round before despatching AGF Århus 4-2 on aggregate in the first. However, facing a Real Madrid CF side at the height of their powers, Sevilla were swept aside 10-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.
Sevilla had to wait nine years for their next European adventure - a journey that ended almost as soon as it had begun as Romanian team Dinamo Pitesti (now FC 2005 Pitesti) dismissed them from the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in the first round of the 1966/67 tournament. The 1970/71 campaign saw Sevilla suffer a similar Fairs Cup fate – losing their opening game to Turkish outfit Eskisehirspor 3-2 over two legs.
A long continental drought followed for Sevilla until a third-round showing in the 1982/83 UEFA Cup and eventual elimination by 1. FC Kaiserslautern, by 4-1 on aggregate. The 1983/84 and 1990/91 editions of the competition also offered little success, with a first-round reverse against Sporting Clube de Portugal preceding a second-round exit at the hands of FC Torpedo Moskva.
Sevilla fared better in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup, ousting PFC Botev Plovdiv 3-1 on aggregate in the first round and Olympiacos CFP on away goals in the second, to set up a meeting with FC Barcelona. Again Spanish opponents would shatter their dreams, however, as Barcelona prevailed by 4-2 overall. They then reached the Round of 16 in 2004/05, succumbing 1-0 against Parma FC after a Round of 32 triumph over Panathinaikos FC - and that ranked as their best UEFA Cup performance prior to last May.
Sixth time lucky
So it was in their sixth appearance in the tournament that Sevilla lifted the silverware, capping their centenary celebrations in style. Now the club take on Barcelona for the second time in Europe with the aim of winning their second trophy. Brazilian forward Luis Fabiano said of the Super Cup contest: "It will be a tough match but we know we are capable of playing well and there is no reason we can't beat Barcelona. To make mistakes against big teams is fatal, but we will attempt to play like we did in last season's final."