Five-time winners and into the Champions League
Five-time champions! Sevilla never seem to tire of winning the competition that they've made their own and that has become part of their history. What authority they have commanded in it! What a tone they set in the second half last night; how well they played, with such ease and depth. What a great image of LaLiga has been given again! What a success for Unai Emery, confronted by Klopp, but emerging the clear winner! What a club Sevilla is, with a superb internal structure, exemplary sports management, and an economic model that works, buying well and selling even better! A well run business.
And this was in a game in which they gave themselves an uphill task. They didn't start badly, good movement from Banega (who was at it from the off), and resisting the threats, although rarely penetrating, from Liverpool. Out of nowhere, they conceded, a masterpiece from Sturridge, pulling a rabbit out of the hat. A goal worthy of the Puskas award. After this, they found themselves up against it for quarter of an hour until the break, with the pressure growing from Liverpool, now with momentum. Sevilla also rode their luck somewhat as a few handballs went unnoticed by referee Eriksson. In this aspect Sevilla do well, they are respected by the officials. Half-time came as a relief. Fifteen minutes to look back and then improve.
And they returned for the second half with a goal in hand, made by Mariano, finished off by the phenomenal Gameiro, a striking demon who, it baffles me, France are choosing not to take to Euro 2016. Such an early goal killed the belief Liverpool had, in reality it was all they had, and it hushed the fans. From then on, Sevilla played the football and their fans did the singing. It was a festival of neat play, focus, intensity and finishing. Two goals from the captain, Coke, a fifth cup for the trophy cabinet, and qualification for next year's Champions League, where again Spain will have five representatives. Sevilla in the streets and Spain proud of its football, its league, this Sevilla...