What. A. Match.
Goals, drama, penalties, end-to-end attacking football and a player and coach offering to fight each other afterwards over a difference of opinion.
This had absolutely everything that you want from a Europa League final.
We were already expecting it to be an entertaining affair but we got far more than we bargained for.
The drama started early with Lukaku being fouled for a penalty which he scored before De Jong thumped home a header to level.
Inter had more credible penalty claims turned away, with Ever Banega (who was sensational) and Antonio Conte arranging a set-to afterwards as things boiled over nicely.
Two more headed goals at each end followed – and that was all just THE FIRST HALF. Insane it may have been but how refreshing it was to see teams both going for it in a major final.
It toned down a little after that but there were still missed one-on-ones, a goal-line clearance and then, a ridiculous overhead kick/own goal winner.
Really, that was the only fitting way to end such a ridiculous affair. The Europa League final that 2020 deserved.
Lukaku and De Jong deliver
Leading the line for each side were players who have oft been maligned throughout their careers and who even had doubters when signing for their current employers.
And on this massive occasion, both men showed what some faith and support from their respective coaches can do for confidence.
Lukaku equalled his hero Ronaldo’s debut season tally at Inter of 34 goals with a cool penalty after a burst into the area ended in him being fouled.
Incredibly, it was also the 11th straight European game that the brilliant Belgian netted in, justifying Inter’s big gamble in a big way.
However, you can’t talk about his outing without noting that he missed a huge second half chance before turning an unfortunate winner into his own net. It shouldn’t define his night or season – but to some it will.
At the other end, De Jong displayed a headed artistry, opting for power with his opener and then perfect placement with the second.
Prior to the game, he’d scored just eight times all season in all competitions and never scored a brace for the Andalusians.
What a time to silence the doubters.
The Diego Carlos final
De Jong ended up with two goals. Banega ran the show and whipped in one delightful, dangerous delivery after another.
Lukaku broke a competition record and Diego Godín became the first defender ever to score in a Champions League and Europa League final.
But in truth, this final belonged to one man: Sevilla defender Diego Carlos.
It was he who hauled down Lukaku for Inter’s early penalty – which was amusingly the third straight spot kick he has given away in as many games from this knockout tournament in Germany.
Although the double jeopardy rule is now done away with, the Nerazzurri may feel he should have seen red due to the deliberate nature of the foul, which is a sending off offence.
Nonetheless, he stayed on to almost give away another penalty when Nicolò Barella had furious appeals turned away after his shot struck the Brazilian’s arm.
And then came his moment late on when he produced a stunning overhead kick in the area which diverted in off Lukaku for the winner (which at the time of writing, Uefa still credit to him – but we’re saying own goal).
From the agony to the ecstasy to his tears on the bench in injury time after being subbed, this was his night.
In conclusion from the eye test Sevilla deserved this final.
What. A. Match.