Coke double downs Liverpool to secure Sevilla’s third straight Europa League crown
Lee Gormley | May 18, 2016
Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla
- Daniel Sturridge scores screamer after 35 minutes to open proceedings
- Dejan Lovren has goal disallowed before half-time
- First-half ends 1-0 thanks to Sturridge strike
- Kevin Gameiro equalises 17 seconds into second-half
- Coke completes comeback with great finish on 64 minutes
- The right back added his second to extend lead moments later
- Sevilla win third consecutive Europa League title
Sevilla sink Liverpool in Europa League final
Unai Emery’s Sevilla came from a goal down at half-time to topple Liverpool 3-1 and lift their third successive Europa League title at St Jakob-Park in Switzerland, thanks to a goal from frontman Kevin Gameiro and two courtesy of right back Coke.
Daniel Sturridge gave Jurgen Klopp’s Reds a 1-0 half-time lead from a sublime curling effort with the outside of his left foot, but Frenchman Gameiro netted the equaliser just 17 seconds into the second-half to start an eventual comeback.
La Liga side Sevilla then took control of the final when Coke put them in front with a delightful finish after the hour mark, before tucking home his second moments later from what seemed to be an offside position.
A gallant comeback from Unai Emery’s men saw them become the first side ever to win this competition three times in a row, and have also earned themselves an automatic spot in next season’s Champions League.
Sturridge comes close, Reds penalty appeal
Liverpool had previously won all eight European Cup final appearances when donning their famous red, and Klopp’s men were hoping that lucky omen would continue in Switzerland, but they were having to sit deep early on with Dejan Lovren clearing twice in the opening three minutes.
Sevilla had dominated possession in the early stages but, when Nathaniel Clyne burst forward on the right flank and played a misplaced pass towards Sturridge in the centre, Emre Can came charging onto the loose ball to strike thunderously at David Soria, but the Spaniard was able to punch clear.
England full back Clyne again went surging forward on the right after 10 minutes and this time picked a lurking Sturridge out in the penalty area, with the striker heading at goal only to see his effort cleared by Sergio Escudero.
His fellow Bathtubs defender Daniel Carrico was then lucky not to have conceded a penalty for handball, after Roberto Firmino plucked a James Milner pass down wonderfully in the box before seeing Escudero’s arm stop his attempted move, though the Swedish referee waved away any appeals.
Reds go in front from Sturridge screamer
The Reds had grown in confidence and were beginning to look more threatening in their build-up, with Adam Lallana pulling the strings after 22 minutes when he danced forward and played a lovely through ball for Sturridge, though the frontman’s attempted chip was stopped by Soria.
Liverpool’s full backs were darting ahead of the wingers during attacks, as they sought some creativity from the wide areas, and Alberto Moreno soon found himself in space in the Sevilla danger area from a Philippe Coutinho pass, but the Spaniard couldn’t get a cross away against his former club.
Dejan Lovren was recently left out of the provisional Croatia squad for Euro 2016 after falling out with manager Ante Cacic, and the Reds centre back was the first man to be booked in this final following a rash challenge on Gameiro, but it was a necessary tackle as Sevilla had men over.
The deadlock was eventually broken after 35 minutes when great work from Firmino in the centre led to space for Sturridge on the edge of the penalty area and, after a quick glance up, he sent a sublime shot flying in off the right post with the outside of his favoured left foot.
Lovren disallowed goal, Gameiro levels swiftly
Liverpool had Sevilla rattled and Lovren saw his header from a corner find the net just moments later but, because Sturridge had tried to connect with the shot from close range, the linesman rightfully flagged for offside to rule the goal out.
The Reds had never lost a European final when taking the lead and they looked likely of maintaining that record, with Emery’s back-to-back winners having so far failed to craft any clear-cut chances, as Liverpool saw out the opening 45 minutes with a 1-0 advantage intact.
Sevilla made an absolute flying start to the second period, as Mariano easily glided past a flat-footed Moreno and sent in a fizzing cross for frontman Gameiro to tuck home his 29th goal of the campaign from close-range after just 17 seconds of the restart.
Kolo Toure had to make a brilliant recovering challenge to deny Gameiro moments later, as the Ivorian got back to thwart the Frenchman from adding a second instantly after his leveller, but Sevilla looked a lot more confident since their midway break.
Coke fires in deadly double
Lallana made a charging run forward on 54 minutes but was blatantly tripped by Spanish winger Vitolo, with the latter midfielder receiving a cautioning for his troubles, while Argentine playmaker Ever Banega quickly followed him into the referee’s book of offences for fouling Can.
Liverpool were all over the place when defending a throw in on the hour mark and Simon Mignolet was forced into stopping another Gameiro chance, after the Frenchman found himself in acres of free space and should have doubled his tally for the evening from a one-on-one position.
Sevilla right back Coke completed an impressive comeback for the Bathtubs with 64 minutes gone, as he fired in a curling effort past Mignolet after great build-up play from Banega in the middle, as Klopp’s Reds went from dominating proceedings to looking completely lost.
Their misery was compounded moments later as Coke capitalised on space on the right side of Liverpool’s penalty area to blast in his second and Sevilla’s third, despite seemingly being in an offside position, much to the despair of Klopp on the sidelines.
Klopp introduced both Joe Allen and Divock Origi in the latter stages of the final, but his side were unable to pull off another miraculous European final comeback, as Sevilla held strong to enjoy Swiss delight by rallying to an incredible third successive Europa League crown.