Sevilla to face Benfica in Europa League final
The Europa League final takes places at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on 14 May.
LONDON - Sevilla snatched a place in the final of the Europa League when a 94th-minute Stephane Mbia header put the Spanish side through on away goals, while Benfica kept alive their dream of a first European trophy in 52 years after a goalless draw with Juventus in Turin helped the newly-crowned Portuguese champions advance 2-1 on aggregate.
Sevilla won last week's first leg 2-0 at home but a 14th-minute Sofiane Feghouli strike, an own goal from goalkeeper Beto in the 26th and a Jeremy Mathieu goal 21 minutes from time put Valencia 3-0 ahead on the night and 3-2 ahead overall.
The home side were just over a minute away from going through to the May 14 final when Federico Fazio flicked on a long throw and Mbia rose to crash a header into the net and silence the Valencia fans packed into the Mestalla.
Mbia, who is on loan in Seville from English Championship side Queens Park Rangers, collapsed to the ground and was engulfed by his team mates as the Valencia players and their fans were left shell-shocked.
"I feel very happy because the tie was looking very difficult," Mbia said in a pitch-side interview with Spanish television.
"The goal was incredible," added the 27-year-old former Olympique Marseille player.
"This goal is for my family, for my father and for my mother. I am very emotional.
"It is the happiest moment of my life. It was important to go to Turin after working so hard."
Benfica will return to Turin on May 14 for the final after restricting Serie A leaders Juventus to a handful of chances, despite having to play for 23 minutes of the second leg clash with 10 men after Enzo Perez was sent off.
"We managed the advantage we had from the first leg really well and we deserve to be in the final because we were better than Juventus," said Benfica coach Jorge Jesus.
The Portuguese side will be hoping to win their first continental title since 1962's European Cup triumph, since when they have lost seven finals, including last season's Europa League showpiece to Chelsea.
Juventus failed to take advantage of their territorial superiority in the first half or the extra man after the sending-off and their exit is a blow for Italy, whose teams have struggled on the continent in recent years.
Juventus coach Antonio Conte was annoyed with the away side's defensive mindset and English referee Mark Clattenburg, who he felt should have given a penalty against Luisao for appearing to block Fernando Llorente's 65th-minute header with his hand.
"They're going through to the final, but I don't think they deserved it," said an irritated Conte.
"The only thing we missed was a goal. Over the course of the two legs we conceded two shots on target. We tried but tonight but we didn't have the run of the ball."
Conte was convinced that his side should have been awarded a penalty when Fernando Llorente's header struck Luisao on the hand. One goal would have put his side through to the final on away goals.
"Today there should have been a penalty, after the penalty not given for a foul on (Giorgio) Chiellini on the first leg," Conte told reporters.
Conte also claimed Clattenburg had failed to control what he saw as Benfica's spoiling tactics.
"The referee allowed them to obstruct the play the whole game. Before the game he told is us that he wouldn't stop play every time a player hit the floor, but that's what happened.
"We feel like we're not being taken seriously, and UEFA should show us more respect by sending a referee of the required standard."