Sevilla, Roma to meet in Europa League final

Sports Desk, May 18 (EFE).- Sevilla came from behind Thursday to beat mighty Juventus 2-1 in the second leg of their Europa League semifinal and prevail 3-2 on aggregate.

The Spanish club, who have won the Europa League a record six times, will face AS Roma in the May 31 final in Budapest.

Having already slain one giant, Manchester United, to reach the last four, Sevilla secured a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Turin and made a bright start Thursday in Seville.

Coach Jose Luis Mendilibar, the architect of the turnaround that has seen Sevilla go from hovering above the drop zone in March to 10th place in LaLiga with four matches left, went with the same starting 11.

Counterpart Maximilian Allegri had to do without the injured Paul Pogba.

Both teams had chances in the first half, but the hosts were the more dangerous. World Cup winner Lucas Ocampos tested Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny twice and Marcos Acuña also forced a stop from the Pole.

Sevilla’s Yassine Bounou made stops against Federico Gatti – author of the Bianconeri’s equalizer in the first leg – and Moise Kean.

The closing minutes of the first half featured a Juventus goal disallowed for offside and a Sevilla plea for a penalty after Juve’s Danilo ran into Oliver Torres. The referee rejected the appeal and VAR upheld the decision.

The sides were still deadlocked 1-1 when Allegri when for a double-change in the 64th minute, replacing Angel Di Maria with Federico Chiesa and swapping out Kean for Dusan Vlahovic, who put Juventus ahead with his first touch, clipping the ball over Bounou.

Juve’s advantage lasted only to the 71st minute, when Sevilla sub Suso beat Szczesny with a tremendous strike to make it 2-2 on aggregate.

The Juve keeper rebounded to make a trio of stops in the final stretch of regulation and the game went to extra time.

Erik Lamela nodded a header past Szczesny in the 95th minute to give Sevilla the lead and his goal proved to be the match winner.

AS Roma, up 1-0 after the first leg in the Italian capital, were content to cede possession and the initiative to Bayer Leverkusen in Thursday’s game at BayArena.

The German team had 77 percent possession and outshot the visitors 23-1, but failed to put anything past Rui Patricio and Roma are headed to a second straight European final.

Jose Mourinho’s men lifted the Europa Conference League trophy last year after winning the competition in its inaugural season.

EFE cc/dr

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