Consecutive UEFA Cup titles for Ramos

Juande Ramos became the first coach to win consecutive UEFA Cup titles by guiding Sevilla to a win over Spanish rival Espanyol.

updated: May 19, 2007 14:53 IST
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Glasgow, England:

Juande Ramos became the first coach to win consecutive UEFA Cup titles by guiding Sevilla to a win over Spanish rival Espanyol on penalty kicks in Wednesday's final.

Ramos also has Sevilla in contention for two other trophies - the Spanish title and the Copa del Rey. No Spanish team has ever won three titles in a season.

Sevilla needed penalty kicks after a stubborn 10-man Espanyol defence held the score to 1-1 and pushed the game to extra time. That finished 2-2 and Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop saved three penalty kicks to help win the Rojiblancos the title.

"I'm proud, I'm happy and satisfied to be champion for the second time," Ramos said. "Knowing how tough it is and how many great teams there are in Europe, for a team like Sevilla, we must enjoy this performance."

Sevilla is only the second club to achieve successive UEFA Cup titles since the competition began in 1972, matching Real Madrid. But Madrid was coached by Amancio Amaro in 1985 and Luis Molowny in 1986.

The 52-year-old Ramos was never a professional soccer player, starting his coaching career in 1993 with lower league Spanish clubs before guiding Rayo Vallecano to Spain's top division in 1998. He led Vallecano to the 2001 UEFA Cup quarterfinals and left for Real Betis in 2001.

He spent five games as coach of Espanyol in 2002, before joining Malaga for one season in 2003.

In his first season at Sevilla, Ramos took the club to the UEFA Cup final, where it defeated English club Middlesbrough 4-0 in Eindhoven, Netherlands for the club's first European trophy.

Sevilla then defeated Champions League winner FC Barcelona 3-0 to lift the European Super Cup.

The bulk of that squad remains this season, with notable players including right back Daniel Alves, striker Frederic Kanoute and midfielder Enzo Maresca.

There will not be too much celebrating - Sevilla plays Getafe in the Copa del Rey final on June 23, chasing its first domestic cup win in 45 years. The Andalusian club is also seeking its first Spanish league title since 1946, and is two points behind Real Madrid and FC Barcelona with four games remaining.

"We're at ease," Ramos said. "The season has already been successful thanks to this victory. Our players are in high spirits and we can tackle the league and the Kings Cup and we will see whether we are able to make a second title."

Ramos hit the spotlight in February when he was knocked unconscious by a bottle thrown from the crowd during a Copa del Rey quarterfinal against city rival Real Betis. The game was abandoned with Sevilla leading 1-0. The remaining 33 minutes of the match were played three weeks later.