Romelu Lukaku went from hero to villain as he scored at both ends to both open and close the scoring in Inter’s 3-2 defeat to Sevilla in Friday night’s Europa League final.
The Belgian put his side ahead inside five minutes in a frantic first half, with Diego Godin levelling the scores 30 minutes later after Luuk de Jong had scored twice for the Spanish side.
The chaos in Cologne started early as Inter were awarded a penalty inside five minutes.
There was little surprise to see Romelu Lukaku involved from the off, and he was fouled by Diego Carlos just as he looked to have beaten the defender.
It was Lukaku himself who stepped up and assumed responsibility from 12 yards and he, of course, slotted home to give Antonio Conte’s side an early lead.
But Sevilla know their way around a Europa League final and they duly fought back.
Just seven minutes later Jesus Navas picked out Luuk de Jong in the Inter area and the Dutchman, who has had his fair share of criticism since landing in Andalusia, headed an effort that Samir Handanovic, despite making contact with the ball, couldn’t stop from finding the back of his net.
The madness continued. Antonio Conte was booked after Inter had appeals for a second penalty waved away, Danilo D’Ambrosio had a chance and other opportunities came and went at either end before the game’s third goal arrived.
It did eventually come through De Jong again as the LaLiga Santander side completed their turnaround.
This time the forward was on the end of an Ever Banega cross to the back post, from where he dispatched a towering header that Handanovic could do little about.
That lead lasted even less time than Inter’s had though. Two minutes after falling behind, Diego Godin grabbed his own headed goal.
Marcelo Brozovic turned provider as he put a freekick right in front of Bono’s goal, from where the Uruguayan was on hand to turn it past the Moroccan.
De Jong passed up a chance to grab his hat-trick in the first half and former AC Milan player Lucas Ocampos forced a save out of Handanovic as Sevilla and the game showed no signs of slowing down before the break.
The Spaniards had been the better side for much of the game but Inter almost retook the lead through Roberto Gagliardini shortly after the restart only for a heroic block from Diego Carlos.
Another former Milan man in Suso had a chance himself, as did Sergio Reguillon, but Lukaku will feel that the biggest chance to give either side a second half lead fell to him.
The Belgian broke from inside his own half but couldn’t beat Bono as he rushed out of his goal to block the forward’s attempt.
Lukaku and Diego Carlos were again involved in an incident in the same box as the first half, but this time with opposite fortunes.
A freekick into the Inter area was only half dealt with before it fell to the defender. His overhead kick appeared to be going wide of Handanovic’s post but the No.9 stuck a leg out and ricocheted it into his own goal.
Alexis Sanchez had barely set foot on the pitch when he came close to levelling the scores again, though his prodded effort from close range in a goalmouth scramble was cleared off the line by Jules Kounde.