A stunning goal from substitute Antonio Puerta gave Sevilla a 1-0 aggregate UEFA Cup win over Schalke 04, to earn the Spaniards a place in their first European final.
“This is an enormous prize for us,” said Sevilla coach Juande Ramos. “We knew it would be hard, but you don’t get anywhere without fighting and suffering.”
“I was eager to achieve a great result tonight and reaching the final is a prize worth the hard work. You can’t make it to a final without making a big effort and suffering.
“The goal came when I thought we were going into a penalty shoot-out as both teams were so tired.
Sevilla will face Middlesbrough in Eindhoven on May 10 after the English side staged an remarkable comeback to beat Steaua Bucharest 4-3 on aggregate to reach their first UEFA Cup final.
“Any rival in a final is difficult but if I had a choice, I would have picked the English team,” he added. “Our rival was a tough one but the team worked hard to win and Antonio Puerta deserved to score.”
Schalke coach Mirko Slomka had no complaints about the result.
“It was clear that there weren’t going to be many chances for either side and that it was going to be just one goal that decided it,” said Slomka. “It was a beautiful goal, there’s nothing else you can say.
“There wasn’t anything we could do. It was a wonderful shot, one you don’t see often. It’s bitter for us.”
“We reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals, but that’s not worth anything anymore. The same goes for our fourth place in the Bundesliga. We had expected more for this season.”
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