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Spain eye European double after Sevilla win UEFA Cup

Written by: Staff

MADRID, May 11 (Reuters) Spain have their eyes on winning both of Europe's top club competitions after Sevilla crushed Middlesbrough 4-0 in the UEFA Cup final.

With Barcelona taking on Arsenal in the Champions League final in Paris on May 17, Spain could achieve a fourth European double after Sevilla's victory in Einhoven yesterday.

''Sevilla, their fans and Spanish football deserve this victory.

Now is the moment to complete a double in European competitions,'' Spain's sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky told reporters.

Spanish clubs previously did a double in 1958, 1960 and 1966 when the UEFA Cup was known as the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. In each of those three years, Real Madrid won the European Cup and Barcelona lifted the old Fairs Cup.

Already assured of a UEFA Cup place next season, Sevilla, who are celebrating their centenary, can still qualify for the Champions League through the Primera Liga.

They are three points behind fourth-placed Osasuna with a game in hand and take on champions Barcelona on Saturday before playing their final game at home to Real Madrid next Tuesday.

Sevilla dominated in Eindhoven and took the lead through Luis Fabiano's 26th-minute header.

Although Boro rallied in the second half they were undone in the closing stages as they chased the game, with Enzo Maresca netting twice and substitute Frederic Kanoute adding a fourth at the end.

Left back David Castedo said: ''The team rose to the challenge in the important moments of the game and maintained the concentration needed in a game like this, from the start.'' Right back Dani Alves added: ''A victory for us was the right result because we were the better side. We are delighted because our fans deserve it.'' All the players highlighted the part played by their passionate supporters, while sports daily Marca today summed up the reaction of the fans with the headline: ''Sevilla laugh and cry in ecstasy.'' Goalkeeper Andres Palop said: ''We give the fans ten out of ten for their support. They have been behind us from the very start of the campaign. A large part of the victory is down to them.'' The UEFA Cup is Sevilla's first European trophy and their first major success since winning the King's Cup in 1948, but club president Jose Maria del Nido hopes they do not have to wait so long again.

''The best is yet to come. We must continue working hard so that this is not just a one-off, and to see if we can improve on what we have achieved this year,'' he said.

Reuters DH VV1635

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