VLADIMIR SIMICEK/ AFP
Europa League thoroughbreds Sevilla worked their magic yet again to beat AS Roma 4-1 on penalties and lift the trophy for a record-extending seventh time, handing Roma boss Jose Mourinho his first defeat in six European finals.
After an unspectacular match ended 1-1 after extra time, Sevilla ruthlessly punished the Italians in the shootout, with Gonzalo Montiel firing home the winning spot kick, just as he did for Argentina in the World Cup final against France.
The defender had missed his first effort but was handed a reprieve when Roma keeper Rui Patricio was adjudged to have come off the line too early and he made no mistake with his second, sparking jubilant celebrations.
Sevilla keeper Yassine Bounou was their hero in the shootout, saving penalties from Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez while the Spaniards were flawless in their own execution, scoring their first four.
Sevilla, the undisputed kings of the Europa League, have now won all seven of the finals they have played in the competition, and are well-versed in the drama of the occasion, having seen their opponents score first in the last four finals.
It was a tense and ill-tempered affair from the start on Wednesday, with Roma defending deep with a five-man backline against Sevilla, who had almost 65 per cent possession but were kept mostly outside the Italian’s crowded box.
The match was tetchy with referee Anthony Taylor dishing out 14 yellow cards, the most ever in a Europa League game, and playing almost 30 minutes of stoppage time in total.
Paulo Dybala gave Roma the lead from a counter-attack in the 35th minute but Sevilla then took control of the game and found the equaliser thanks to an own-goal by Mancini in the 55th minute.
Sevilla dominated the match after that but Roma had the better chances from counter-attacks and set-pieces, including a Chris Smalling header that hit the crossbar in the 10th minute of added time in extra time.
It was the third consecutive Europa League final that ended in a penalty shootout.
The win means Sevilla will compete in next season’s Champions League despite finishing outside the top four in the La Liga.
Mourinho had never lost a European final before Wednesday, having last year led Roma to the inaugural Europa Conference League title, becoming the first coach to win all the European trophies.
Losing was clearly a painful experience for the Portuguese who handed his runners-up medal to a fan in the stand after the presentation.
“That’s what I did, I don’t want silver medals. I don’t keep silver medals, so I gave it away,” he told Movistar.
It was written in the stars. ✨
7️⃣ times, @EuropaLeague 𝑪𝑯𝑨𝑴𝑷𝑰𝑶𝑵𝑺. ⚪️🔴
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) May 31, 2023
Japan down Samoa to keep quarter-final dream alive, England go through – ARN News Centre
Japan took a big step towards reaching the quarter-finals for the second successive World Cup with a 28-22 win over Samoa on Thursday, sending England through to the knockout stage as Pool D winners in the process.
Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch and Kazuki Himeno scored tries and 13 points from the boot of flyhalf Rikiya Matsuda gave the Brave Blossoms enough breathing space to hold off a late fightback from 14-man Samoa.
The Samoans had a try on the board from Seilala Lam before winger Ben Lam sent from the field in the 47th minute and two more from Duncan Paia’aua and Christian Leali’ifano in the final quarter were not quite enough to overhaul Japan.
“It’s a big win, that was a really tough game,” said Japan coach Jamie Joseph. “We had to work hard to get the win, I take my hat off to the Samoan boys, they really took it to us.”
Japan moved out of a tie with Samoa into second place in the pool on nine points with a winner-takes-all showdown against Argentina looming next week if the Pumas, as expected, beat Chile on Saturday.
Samoa coach Seilala Mapusua said the red card had proved decisive as his team’s hopes of progressing were reduced to the mathematical.
“Really proud of the guys with the effort they put into the game, I couldn’t have asked for more,” he said. “But it’s tough playing a game against 15 men and to be down a man down.”
Both teams came into the match with one win from two games and the early exchanges were even until Japan struck in the 14th minute.
Fullback Lomano Lemeki, making his first test start for two years, bounced off a couple of tackles down the left wing to drive deep into the Samoa half and flanker Labuschagne barged over the line from close range.
Samoa were dominating territory and forcing Japan into a lot of tackles but getting no penetration from their backline and emerged with only a penalty from a long period in the red zone.
Matsuda stroked over a penalty in the 28th minute to continue his flawless performance from the tee at this World Cup and in Japan’s next attack around the half-hour mark created a try.
Japan were going through phases close to the Samoa line when Matsuda lofted a looping cutout pass out to Leitch on the left wing, leaving the former captain with a clear canter to the line.
Matsuda nailed the conversion from the wing to give Japan a 17-3 lead and Samoa suffered a second blow when scrumhalf Jonathan Taumateine was sin-binned.
Japan were also reduced to 14 men three minutes before the break when Shota Horie was sent to the sin-bin and Samoa took immediate advantage, rolling hooker Seilala Lam over the line for a try to cut the deficit to 17-8 at halftime.
The yellow card for a high shot by winger Lam early in the second half allowed Japan to reply in kind in the 49th minute, skipper Kazuki Himeno emerging from the pile of bodies to claim the try.
Matsuda missed his first kick of the tournament from the conversion but the news was worse for Samoa with the referee confirming that Lam’s yellow card had been upgraded to a red.
Another Matsuda penalty in the 56th minute extended the lead to 25-8 but Samoa hit back six minutes later with a try from fullback Duncan Paia’aua after the Samoan forwards again took a direct approach.
Former Wallabies flyhalf Leali’ifano added the extras and skipped across the line for a converted try of his own two minutes from time but Japan held on for their third successive win over Samoa in the World Cup.
Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open dates announced for 2024 – ARN News Centre
The Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open is set to make a spectacular return to the UAE tennis scene from February 3 – 11, 2024, at the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre, following its successful inaugural edition this year.
The WTA 500 tournament, presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council and hosted in partnership with Mubadala, has quickly become one of the most prestigious events in women’s tennis, featuring 28 singles players and 16 doubles teams competing for a $900,000 prize fund and coveted ranking points.
The tournament is part of Abu Dhabi’s commitment to hosting world-class sporting events and aims to inspire young athletes and unite the tennis community.
In addition to top-notch tennis action, the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open offers an immersive Fan Village experience with player appearances, family-friendly entertainment, contests and diverse food options.
With affordable ticket prices starting at AED 50 for kids and AED 95 for adults, the event promises to be an ideal outing for families and sports enthusiasts.
Fans are encouraged to subscribe online for early access to tickets and the best seats.
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Dynamo beat Lionel Messi-less Miami to win US Open Cup – ARN News Centre
Griffin Dorsey and Amine Bassi scored before halftime and the Houston Dynamo won their second US Open Cup with a 2-1 victory over Inter Miami on Wednesday at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Inter Miami played the final without injured stars Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba.
Houston goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell made three stops to preserve the victory as the Dynamo repeated a feat they previously accomplished in 2018, this time under first-year manager Ben Olsen.
Houston becomes the seventh MLS team to win the US Open Cup on multiple occasions. Olsen becomes only the third manager to win the nation’s oldest surviving national soccer competition with two different clubs, having guided DC United to the title in 2013.
For the fourth time in five matches, Miami played without Messi, who has been nursing a lower-body muscle issue since he went to play with the Argentina national team earlier this month.
Josef Martinez scored a late consolation goal for the Herons, who won the 2023 Leagues Cup led by Messi’s 10 goals in that competition last month.
Via their respective trophies, both Miami and Houston will compete in the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Houston was dominant in the first half and held a deserved 2-0 lead before Miami even managed its first shot.
Dorsey opened the scoring in the 24th minute on a well-worked team attack that began with Corey Baird cutting in from the left flank, and then playing the ball to Artur in the center channel.
Artur worked the ball further to the right into the overlapping run of Dorsey, who took one touch to control and then hammered his finish through goalkeeper Drake Callender and into the net from about 10 yards out.
Seven minutes later, Nelson Quinones got behind the Miami back line and was taken down by DeAndre Yedlin just inside the 18-yard box.
In the 33rd minute, Bassi stepped up and cooly converted his penalty past Callender, who guessed incorrectly.
Bassi appeared to have set up Quinones for a third goal in the second half, but referee Jon Freemon ruled Quinones had been fractionally offside following a video review.
Martinez made the final stages interesting when he took Facundo Farias’ throughball and drove a low finish through Tarbell’s legs in the second minute of second-half stoppage time.