The umpteenth feat of Sevilla

The umpteenth feat of Sevilla

Seven out of seven. It means Europa League semifinals. They have won all the ones that Sevilla has played, the six finals too, and on the last day of the month of flowers they will play in Budapest against Mourinho's Roma in pursuit of their seventh continental title. Pepe Castro, the vilified president despite his resounding, incomparable track record, will be able to repeat that funny catchphrase "again? Yes again". At the end of a titanic fight against Juventus, with a comeback and extra time included, Mendilibar's Sevilla reached the final. That same team, do you remember?, that on Friday of Dolores seemed doomed to fight for permanence in the First Division arm and arm. Soccer is unpredictable… almost always. When the sevillistas head towards their fetish tournament, you already know what is going to happen.

Spurred on by the deafening noise and forced by his condition as a local, Sevilla dominated the first minutes against a Juventus that was allowed to do. In short, they have been allowing themselves to be done by the Italians for more than a century and their rivals have not yet learned that this is nothing more than a mischievous way of sharpening their nails. The whites threatened with a percussion from Rakitic and a cross from Óliver Torres, plus a couple of corners, which did not even tickle Allegri's crowded defense, eight guys like eight ratchets planted in two lines. And at the first Turin strategy, Gatti rises on the penalty spot to hammer against Bono, who avoids the 0-1. Against people like that you had to risk your chips at Sánchez-Pizjuán.

Since the time of Nereo Rocco, or before, the transalpine teams observe the commandment not to give away chances, a task in which the albinegros –pink for the occasion– applied themselves as good students. But it was not part of his plans for Ocampos to catch an iron at the near post that would have entered had it not been for Szczesny's lunge, which he deflected into the line. Makkelie looked at his GPS-watch, but the Polish goalkeeper had stopped before the line.

Immediately, Kean enabled Di María with a counterattack discharge and Fideo, who wanted to score in Vaseline, botched his definition. The match was trench warfare with both sides suddenly launching bayonet charges. As soon as Acuña or Rakitic launched an insidious shot, as Kean tied Badé in a knot and shot at Bono's goal post.

It was, that is, one of those tight duels that any event can unbalance. A goal, of course, or a fall by Óliver Torres at the limit of the Piedmontese area in the discount of the first half. It was a clear foul by Cuadrado and it is possible that he was on the line. The VAR scrutinized it for a few seconds and estimated its operator that it was out. The weight of history, which can cause myopia.

The second half began with counters and recontras that favored Juventus, more vertical than a Sevilla that was already beginning to notice the minutes in the legs of its three midfielders, whose deployment until then had been tremendous. Although the first warning was from Bryan Gil, the one who really made hearts run wild was Rabiot. Iling-Junior deserted from his band to drag Navas with him and the Frenchman incurred after being enabled with the chest by Kean. Gudelj must not have known that he is left-handed, because he let him drive with his left leg right up to Bono's beard. The cross shot of him licked the wood. Right away, Bremer caught an aerial ball and the Sevilla goalkeeper again saw the ball come out near his post. The final third was facing, that moment in which a goal begins to weigh like lead. And who was around him the most was Juventus. It was time to activate Suso, who replaced a wonderful Oliver Torres.

Allegri responded with Chiesa and Vlahovic, almost nothing to the device, and the Serbian striker made his glorious debut. In his first ball, he sneaked between the two center backs to beat Bono by high. The punch was this, yes, but the game had already been leaning cheekily towards the visiting side for a few minutes. It didn't go badly for the first Sevilla relay either. The man from Cádiz, in cotton for two weeks, was one of the few elements who seemed fresh when his teammates had accused the blow from the disadvantage and grabbed the ball on the edge of the area to unravel it with a shot that combined power and placement. To the skylight New tie, twenty minutes badly counted, with the transalpines crouching and the whites launched, although with the danger of falling into the trap of the runner that the mischievous visiting team set for them.

Bryan Gil and En-Nesyri, with a header that Szczesny deflected with a changed hand, were able to avoid extra time, which began with two saving saves by Bono. There is no possible victory without a great goalkeeper. The Moroccan kept Sevilla alive in the most difficult moments and Bryan Gil, in his umpteenth run down the left, managed to cross from the penalty spot for Lamela to head in to make it 2-1.

There were more or less three weeks left, perhaps three months or three semesters, for the battle to end at the Sánchez-Pizjuán and Sevilla was so determined not to play, that Acuña earned the second yellow card and was sent off. He will not play the final. Well, he's a lesser evil.