Sevilla coach Juande Ramos persisted his side deserved to be the second club to defend the UEFA Cup after their dramatic 3-1 penalty shootout win over 10-man Espanyol.
Sevilla keeper, Andres Palop, was the hero with three penalty saves after the game had ended at 2-2 after extra-time.
Adriano’s 18th-minute opener for Sevilla was cancelled out just 10 minutes later by Riera before Espanyol midfielder Hurtado was sent off 20 minutes before extra-time arrived.
Fredi Kanoute put Sevilla ahead before the turnaround but substitute Jonatas equalised again with 4 minutes remaining to take the match to penalties.
Kanoute, Dragutinovic and Puerta scored although Alves blasted high over the bar.
Palop though had other things on his mind, making three thrilling saves from Luis Garcia, Jonatas and Torrejon to win a heart-stopping game in a rain-soaked Glasgow.
“I am proud, happy and satisfied. We were never behind, we were ahead twice and they caught up with us.”
“We had chances to get the third goal but we weren’t able to close the game out.”
“Espanyol fought hard with 10 men and it was difficult to play against them.”
“Finally the penalties arrived but overall Sevilla were the superior side.”
“We won the cup last season so we had the experience but if things had gone the way we planned, we would never have gone to penalties.”
Palop, voted man of the match, scored against Shakhtar Donetsk earlier in the competition to force extra-time and keep his side in the cup.
The 34-year-old admitted the event had been perfect for him.
“I would like to thank my team-mates and thank God that the cup is coming back to Sevilla.”
“It has been a very complete competition for me, scoring a goal and saving those penalties. This will go with me the rest of my life.”
Espanyol also lost on penalties to Bayer Leverkusen in the 1988 final, the only other European final they have been involved in.
Valverde (Espanyol’s coach) admitted Palop was the difference when it came to penalties.
“We have a good goalkeeper and good scorers but their keeper was absolutely outstanding and that was the decisive part of the game.”
“If I could choose a way to lose then this would be the way to lose.”
“The team fought with a great heart. We lost the final on a penalty shootout again but we walk away proud.”
“Before the sending off there was a moment when I thought we would win but the sending off affected us.”
Source: The World Game (www.theworldgame.com.au)