An exemplary performance from Sevilla sharpshooter Carlos Bacca stole the show in the Europa League final, allowing four Premier League misfits who shone in the consolation competition showpiece to fly under the radar.
A brace from the Colombian goal machine enabled Los Rojiblancos to lift the cup for the second consecutive season and, amazingly, the fourth time in ten years.
What was even more striking than Bacca’s textbook solo-striker performance in Warsaw, however, was the number of players who graced the field to have endured difficult spells in the Premier League at previous points of their career.
Three of the quartet of cast offs got their mitts on the Europa League trophy, while the remainder scored the opening goal of the contest.
Dnipro’s Nikola Kalinic was the only representative of the Ukrainian outfit to previously appear in the English top-flight, though his stint was only brief.
Blackburn Rovers paid £6m to sign the Croatian forward from Hajduk Split and were all too happy to see him join last night’s beaten finalists two years later after witnessing him bulge the net just seven times.
The stark contrast in fortunes of those lining up for Sevilla, the side that missed out on Champions League qualification via their standing in La Liga by just one place and one point, are even more eye opening.
Jose Antonio Reyes was a member of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ side from 2003/04, but his stay with the Gunners is recognised as one of unrealised potential and money wasted as opposed to a success.
He skippered Unai Emery’s outfit up until his 59th-minute withdrawal and assisted Bacca’s first with a delectable ball that split four defenders.
Stephane Mbia’s bottomless energy reserves carried him into man of the match contention; his presence in both boxes throughout the match will have shocked most QPR fans, in front of whom he struggled for 31 matches during the R’s relegation campaign of 2012/13.
The most startling inclusion of all has to be that of centre-back Daniel Carrico, who some may remember featuring regularly for Reading’s reserves during their ill-fated 2012/13 crack at Premier League survival.
Nigel Adkins afforded him just 87 minutes of action in the top-tier during that season, yet he is a regular for Emery’s men and now boasts two Europa League titles to his name.
The Portuguese handyman will be part of the Sevilla side that tackles the Champions League next season, where they’re 5/4 to advance from the group-stage.