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Sevilla on 1st UCL quarterfinal in 60 years: “We had to change history”

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Sevilla is a tournament team, but what it pulled off Tuesday in Manchester is still a fine place to hang a hat.

Vincenzo Montella managed La Liga’s mainstays to something Unai Emery, Jorge Sampaoli, or Juande Ramos could not: Win a Champions League match in England.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to UCL exit ]

And there pressure was certainly on Montella and his bosses, who controversially fired manager Eduardo Berizzo a week after he returned from cancer treatment despite a memorable comeback versus Liverpool.

Here’s Sevilla president Jose Castro, via Sevillafc.es:

“We needed a man and the man is here. It was a magical night, it was 60 years without being in the quarterfinals and we had to change history. It was a great match and we continue to dream of the Champions League.”

Mexico’s Miguel Layun couldn’t play in the match having represented Porto in the Champions League before transferring to Sevilla, but he was feeling the team spirit, too:

Sevilla fires manager Berizzo one week after cancer surgery return

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Sevilla doesn’t care about timing.

Yes, it’s the holiday season and, sure, their manager has just come back from cancer surgery, but this is La Liga and they’ve got a season to save at Sevilla.

Eduardo Berizzo, a week returned from prostate cancer surgery, has been fired by the fifth place La Liga club, which is set to meet Manchester United next in the UEFA Champions League.

[ ARSENAL-LIVERPOOL: Recap | 3 things | Stars/duds ]

You’ll remember that Berizzo reportedly told his players of his diagnosis at halftime of a 3-3 comeback against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.

Here to answer the media’s awkward questions is Sevilla chairman Jose Castro.

“It’s a complicated and painful decision because it always is when you need to dismiss somebody, even more so with someone like Eduardo – a great person and a magnificent professional. But there are moments when you have to take appropriate decisions for the club. There had been a bad run of results and the impressions we were getting from our game give us reason to make this decision – because the reality is we weren’t seeing the project as in the ascendancy. There is an important budget and a responsibility to the club members to always achieve the maximum. We didn’t see ourselves as on the ideal road for that.”

Now he’s out of a job, with Sevilla out of action until a Copa del Rey match on Jan. 3. They restart La Liga play on Jan. 6.

The 48-year-old Berizzo led O’Higgins to a Chilean title before taking over at Celta Vigo, where he led the club to the semifinals of the Europa League. He’s also denied making a now infamous and bizarre rant against homosexuality in football stemming from his time in France.

In this first season at Sevilla, he finished 14W-6D-7L and, of course, missed time with cancer surgery. All seven losses came on the road, with defeats at Barcelona, Spartak Moscow, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Valencia, and Real Sociedad.