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UEFA Highlights

The Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan next week will have a difficult time matching the quality of the so-called second-tier championship, the UEFA Cup, between Sevilla and Espanyol. As you probably already know, Sevilla repeated with a 3-1 penalty kick victory, but how the match reached that point was breathtaking. Here are the four pulsating goals in regulation and extra time (I didn't bother with the shootout -- sorry.) Enjoy.

By Steve Goff  |  May 17, 2007; 9:39 AM ET
Categories:  World  
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Agreed -- this was an absolutely terrific match. The intrigue, the energy, and the passion mirrored last year's epic FA Cup final between Liverpool and West Ham.

Posted by: iammrben | May 17, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

What I find interesting is that, of the four goals, 3 were tremendous individual efforts. American coaches and parents who continually yell, "pass the ball, don't be a ball hog!" take note.

Posted by: Joe Doc | May 17, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Good game all around.

It will be ineteresting to see if Sevilla is able to keep most of their players for next season when they will be in the Champions League. Usually teams like them struggle in the CL once they get in, but they are an experienced bunch at the Euro level after 2 straight UEFA Cup titles.

They have definitely been the best team throughout the season, in overall style of play, in Spain this year and they are in Spanish Cup final and within 2 points of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the league.

Posted by: Vic | May 17, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Pulsating goals??? I would only consider the last one as such. Looked like some really lax defending - particularly for a cup final.

Posted by: Pete | May 17, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

That was one heckuva game, especially seeing the Espanyol fans on the verge of tears until that last goal.

Penalty shootouts are cruel crapshoots. If they repeated them today -- same goalkeepers, same kickers -- it might be the other way around. Makes you really feel for the Espanyol players afterwards.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 17, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Pete wrote: Pulsating goals??? I would only consider the last one as such. Looked like some really lax defending - particularly for a cup final.

Hear, Hear. You have to take into account the conditions and the somewhat loose footing (though the pitch looked great all through the match), but the first three goals won't be included in any Defensive Drills videos. Sevilla had a great counter on their first so you can somewhat excuse Espanyol for getting greedy, but no-one was within 10 yards of Riera on Espanyol's first until he was almost inside the area, plus it was off a deflection. Kanoute's been in big matches before so there's no excuse for leaving him at the near post on Sevilla's second, and while Sevilla did a better job of defending Jonatas' eventual equalizer, there was another deflection.

I would say the crowd and the atmosphere were 'pulsating', but not so much for the goals and the circumstances surrounding them. An entertaining match, nonetheless.

Posted by: Big C | May 17, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Geez, I stand corrected. The goals were terrible and the game was great. Tough crowd...

Posted by: Goff | May 17, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Joe Doc, I missed the game, but that first goal was all on the keepers outlet to start the counter. One missed tackle and Adriano was home free. I wouldn't call it a brilliant individual goal, but I would call it a clinical counter started by the keep.

Two were deflections off defenders. That's the perfect illustration of why you need to shoot when you get open at the top of the box instead of making that one last pass. I wish DCU players were a little less gun-shy in the same situations.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | May 17, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

It was actually a very instructional set of clips Mr. Goff. They were all praiseworthy.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | May 17, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Imagine yourself at the match or watching in real time (not the replays). Would you have thought those goals exciting (pulsating) or not? Be honest.

Any one of those goals could win SIERRAMIST!! GOALOFTHEWEEK!! Then again, the masses who vote for that usually elect some pedestrian candidate based on team favoritism - truly the American way :-).

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | May 17, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I have second Leesburg Soccer Fan's point that DCU players (I'm looking at you, Jaime!)should think shot instead of pass when you are in the box. In contrast to Woody Hayes' argument against the forward pass (three things can happen, and two of them are bad), six things can happen when you shoot from that close in (straight goal; goal off a deflection; corner; save; block; or outright miss) and three of them are good. Two of them are VERY good.

Posted by: tcal | May 17, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

yeah, the goals were a bore.....especially when the sevilla keeper made an eighty yard throw and adriano sped around the defender and tucked it in the corner at full speed. better than ambien. yeah it didn't make the defensive clip tape i'm putting together. jeeez.

on a less snitty note: god bless steve goff for his reporting!!!!

Posted by: sick of snobs | May 17, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Of course the goals were crap - they were scored by 1-inch tall players on a YouTube screen!

Didn't see the game except the highlights late last night. Sevilla's goalie Palop, in addition to his long touchdown pass, stopped 3 PKs in the shooutout to win it for his team.

Posted by: garbaggio | May 17, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Fantastic match, epitomising the fact that the UEFA Cup has, in recent years, brought better competition than the Champions League. Familiarity can breed... well, a degree of boredom.

(And I don't just say that as a Middlesbrough fan who had to endure the 4-0 thrashing in last year's final after two miraculous comebacks to get there.)

Nice to see the ITV commentary as well: alas, Fox Soccer's anodyne studio-based coverage should have been chucked in favour of the international feed from Glasgow.

It also proved the wisdom of abandoning the brief experiment with the golden goal in extra time. Espanyol deserved the chance to level it in extra time, and pulled that goal out of nowhere.

Posted by: Nick S | May 17, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

nit picky bunch here...what is a goal if not the very definition of lax defending? One can not score a goal unless the defense is lax in it's duties. If the defense does its job, a goal is not scored; if it fails, no goal is scored. C'mon now....
Granted, some defense can look worse than others but I'd hardly call these sham goals as some seem to be suggesting. The first and last ones were pretty no matter where in the world ya see em.

Posted by: papa bear | May 17, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Funny that the FSC crew was talking about how great D Alves was, and he was culpable for the first goal. He's a liability as a defender because he plays up too much, and he got burned for it. Must be nice to have guys like Navas, Pandiani, Kerzhakov, and Chevanton on your bench, too. Sevilla has sold some major players over the last few years and been able to restock.

Posted by: RK | May 18, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

It was a helluva game at the end of a long season - I'm surprised they lasted the whole 90mins at that pace, let alone the extra 30! Sevilla are emerging as a serious force, hope they top it all off with more trophies this year!
Palop deserved MOTM for his great save onto the crossbar from Riera alone, the best moment. His authority on the line told when it came to the PKs.
Credit to Espanyol for competing after the red card, but taking off Tamudo and de la Pena was wrong.
The rain made the ground slick and the ball moved quick, already I'm worrying what'll happen in Athens, Greece, as it'll likely be hot, very hot.

Posted by: Jack Strap | May 20, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

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