TURIN, Italy (AP) — Sports fans are by nature a superstitious lot and are no strangers to their clubs being "cursed."
It took the Boston Red Sox 86 years to break the Curse of the Bambino, while for the Chicago Cubs, it's 104 years and counting. So in the annals of great sporting hoodoos, Portuguese football club Benfica has a way to go.
However, after eight defeats in European finals since 1962, it becomes harder to deny that the club's Bela Guttman curse lives on.
The Portuguese club was arguably the better side over the 120 minutes of Wednesday's Europa League final, but ultimately lost 4-2 to Sevilla on penalties after the match ended goalless.
It is the second successive year that Benfica players have had to console themselves with runner-up medals, after losing to Chelsea in the final of the same competition last season.
"The players fought but they lacked a bit of luck again," Benfica captain Luisao said. "Once again, in a final, the ball just didn't go in."
Benfica coach Jorge Jesus and several of the players laughed off talk of the infamous curse in the buildup to the final, but it has now been 52 years since coach Guttman stormed out and the club has failed in every single one of its subsequent European title clashes.
Known as the Jose Mourinho of his era, Guttman had just led Benfica to back-to-back European Cup victories and the Portuguese club looked set to rule the international stage for years to come.