Yassine Bounou’s Heroics in 2023 Europa League Final : Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou was the hero of the 2023 Europa League final as he made two spectacular saves during the penalty shootout following a 1-1 drawn tense affair in 120 minutes between Sevilla and AS Roma of Jose Mourinho.
Sevilla FC thus enters a little more in the history of the Europa League with a seventh success in the competition after an extremely tight final and most of the thanks go to the African goalkeeper who also hero of his national team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Bounou’s team-mates, heroes of the penalty shoot-out, were trailing before showing their mentality to inflict José Mourinho’s first defeat in a European final in the UEFA Europa League final in Budapest.
The match, three hours of struggle
Between that of the Portuguese coach (5 wins in 5 finals) and that of the Spanish club (6 wins in 6 Europa League finals), a series was to end in Budapest. Fate took its time to choose the successor of Eintracht Frankfurt.
He first seemed to lean in favor of the Wolf with the opener of Paulo Dybala (0-1, 35th minute). The Argentinian pounced on an incisive pass from Gianluca Mancini and quietly placed his ball beyond Bounou’s reach.
It took more to destabilize Sevilla who released Manchester United and Juventus this season and under pressure from Youssef En-Nesyri, the same Mancini cheated on his own goalkeeper Rui Patricio for the equalizing goal following a cross veteran Jesus Navas (1-1, 55th).
While both teams were hitting hard, by Ivan Rakitic in the first half and Chris Smalling in extra time for Roma, a winner had to be chosen.
The suspense quickly crumbled on penalties with two saves by Bounou then the victorious attempt by Gonzalo Montiel, who had already suffered the same fate for France in the World Cup final last December.
The Hankook Player of the Match went to Yassine Bounou.
What they said after the match :
José Luis Mendilibar, Sevilla, coach :
“When I take a vacation, I’ll know what we did. We started badly, they played comfortably.
Then, in the second half, we changed and it was difficult. In extra time, nothing happened, but we managed the penalty shootout. Montiel was supposed to be the fifth, but they changed the order. The order is set by the players.”
Jose Mourinho, Roma, coach :
“I’ve won five finals and lost this one, but I’m proud. The boys gave their all. We are all attached to this jersey. We take things seriously and with humility, we work a lot. Everyone reacts differently: one cries, the other does not. The truth is that we are all very sad, with or without crying. A great game, a great final – intense, vibrant.”
Loïc Badé, Sevilla defender :
“That’s wonderful. A first trophy for me. In a season that has not been easy. Frankly, as far as sensations are concerned, you can’t do better.
Crazy match because we take the first goal which is hard to cash. We know that against a team like this, it’s very hard to score. We snatch victory on penalties, and the harder the fight, the better the victory.”
Chris Smalling, Roma :
“Everyone is sad and disappointed because we fought hard to reach the final. We will remember for a long time the fact of having seen the others celebrating. We have to try next season. Mourinho was very proud of us at the end of the game. He said we have always been together and we have to be strong because we win and lose together.”
The Stats You Should Know :
This is the tenth time out of 25 that the final has gone beyond added time.
The Italian side hadn’t scored a goal in their previous four Europa League knockout stages away to Roma this season before Dybala opened the scoring.
Sevilla are the only side to have played more than 50 Europa League knockout stage matches – this was their 52nd.
Jesús Navas has made his fourth final in this competition, having tasted success in 2006, 2007 and 2020 previously.
Sevilla have failed to score in just 2 of their last 13 European matches.
The only previous own goal in the final was scored by Romelu Luka
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