Sevilla made it three consecutive Europa League titles as they staged a brilliant second half rally to defeat Liverpool Wednesday in Basel, Switzerland. Things might have gone much differently though.
Liverpool came out flying putting their Spanish opponents under constant pressure in the opening half of play. The opening goal would come in the 33rd minute when Daniel Sturridge received the ball just inside the area and beat Soria with a superb, curling effort with the outside of his left foot that bent inside the opposite post. It would have been a goal worthy of a title if not for the second half.
The English side continued buzzing and looked to have scored again only minutes later. Dejan Lovren headed in from a corner, but Sturridge, in an offside position, attempted to get a flick on the ball and the flag went up. The Premier League side were dominant now, in search of a second before halftime, but they had to be content 1-0 lead.
Sevilla would emerge from the break a different squad with a renewed vigor and Liverpool would pay. All Liverpool's hard work was undone just 18 seconds after the restart as Sevilla levelled. Mariano skipped past two defenders before superbly squaring for Gameiro, who couldn't miss from 5 yards out.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted that his team fell apart and lost shape from that moment. The match was lost as Sevilla ran wild the rest of the night.
Two minutes later and Gameiro was through on goal. He looked certain to get a shot away until he was caught by Kolo Toure, who made a vital last-ditch tackle to snuff out the danger. Coke would put Sevilla in front in the 64th minute with a fine finish from the edge of the eighteen firing low past Mignolet.
The game was settled five minutes later as Coke notched his second -- with a huge slice of luck. The ball took a double-deflection of two Liverpool players and ran to the unmarked Coke, who managed to beat Mignolet. Liverpool protested furiously, but at no point was there a moment when Coke could have been offside.
A deserved victory for Sevilla as they were the better side when it counted and took their chances well. Liverpool squandered the chance to end an 11-year European drought, while Sevilla qualified for next season's Champions League group stage despite finishing seventh in La Liga.