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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Heady days and hard nights
By Chris Bevan
BBC Sport in Eindhoven

Middlesbrough fans were out in force in Eindhoven
After a day celebrating in Eindhoven, proud Boro fans filled the stadium
A day that had started as a party for every Middlesbrough fan ended in a wake.

Over 12,000 of them had converged on Eindhoven - many without tickets - for the biggest game in their club's history.

For Boro, without a major trophy for the first 128 years of their existence until they won the 2004 Carling Cup, to be taking on Sevilla in the Uefa Cup final, was a dream come true for all their supporters.

Walking round town during the build-up to the game, it was impossible to find one without a huge grin on their face.

Simply being there was enough and they were determined to enjoy themselves.

Sadly they were to feel very differently by the end of the evening.

Boro had twice come back from 3-0 down to win on their way to the final, so it was no surprise that Luis Fabiano's opener for Sevilla failed to dampen the spirits of their fans who had managed to get inside the Philips Stadion.

And they continued to roar encouragement despite a thoroughly lacklustre first-half display by Steve McClaren's team.

A flurry of Boro chances and a loud penalty appeal at the start of the second half kept them believing another comeback was possible, despite the fact that time was beginning to run out on their hopes.

Even when Enzo Maresca added a second for the Spanish side 12 minutes from time, the majority did not lose hope - and those few seen heading for the exits might just have been in need of a toilet break.

Only when Maresca made it 3-0 six minutes later did the dream finally die, while Fredi Kanoute's late goal simply added insult to injury.

A lone Middlesbrough fan sits in the Philips Stadion
Some Middlesbrough fans cannot bear to leave the Philips Stadion

And while many Boro fans left immediately to drown their sorrows or make an early start on the long journey home, others stayed on looking too stunned to move.

Jubilant Sevilla manager Juan de la Cruz Ramos said afterwards there had been an "explosion of joy" back in his team's home city in Spain.

Conversely, there was an outbreak of despair among the Boro fans who were in Holland.

The crushing manner of their defeat had taken all the joy out of their European adventure, for the time being at least.

After the game most Sevilla fans chose to do their celebrating outside the stadium so Boro supporters had the run of Eindhoven - but most did not bother to hang around.

The carnival atmosphere of the build-up means it will always be a day to remember, but the disastrous outcome of the game made it a night to forget.

SEE ALSO
Middlesbrough 0-4 Sevilla
10 May 06 |  Europe
McClaren tries to console players
10 May 06 |  Middlesbrough
Build-up as it happened
10 May 06 |  Europe


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