Queens Park Rangers loanee Stephane Mbia scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time to rescue Sevilla from the brink of Europa League elimination on Thursday, turning what looked like a 3-0 loss at Valencia into a 3-3 series victory thanks to his away goal and a 2-0 win in the first game. Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men were in imperious form at the Mestalla Stadium on Thursday, and could easily have scored more before Mbia’s header deep into stoppage time stunned the home crowd.
"It was very hard, they played so well and it was so hard to win here. But we knew just one goal," a stunned Mbia told Cuatro TV after the 3-1 Valencia win. "Unbelievable."
No team has lasted as long as Sevilla in the competition after the Andalucian team started in the third qualifying round when Malaga and Rayo Vallecano were both denied a place by UEFA for financial problems. Sevilla had finished ninth in the Spanish standings last season.
Sevilla returns to the Europa League final for the first time since winning its second-straight title in 2007, where it will face Benfica at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on May 14. When asked about his team’s opponent in the final, coach Unai Emery said: "The rival is the rival, what matters is the final. It's a great team, it eliminated Juventus."