AS Roma vs Sevilla: Battle for UEFA Europa League Title
The Europa League has determined the two teams that will advance to the final.
On May 18th, the European football fields continued to be vibrant with two matches in the second leg of the Europa League semi-finals. The Italian representatives, Juventus and Roma, traveled to face Sevilla and Bayer Leverkusen, respectively. Unfortunately, the “Italian derby” final could not happen.
At the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, Sevilla and Juventus entered the match after a 1-1 draw in the first leg. The game became very intense as both teams had dangerous goal-scoring opportunities, especially Sevilla with well-organized wing attacks.
Meanwhile, the Italian representatives chose to play defensively and waited for counter-attacking opportunities. If luck was on their side, Juventus could have scored the opening goal. In the 43rd minute, Adrien Rabiot managed to put the ball into Sevilla’s net, but the referee disallowed the goal due to Locatelli’s offside position.
After the break, both teams continued to create back-and-forth opportunities. In the 65th minute, Dusan Vlahovic scored the opening goal for Juventus with a decisive shot.
However, Sevilla quickly recovered and immediately equalized the score to 1-1 with a thunderous strike from Suso in the 71st minute.
Both teams battled it out in the remaining minutes, but no more goals were scored. With this result, both teams had to proceed to extra time. In the early minutes of extra time, Sevilla’s Erik Lamela scored a header to make it 2-1.
In the following minutes, the Italian representatives made a strong effort to find the equalizing goal, but they couldn’t break through Sevilla’s solid defense. The match ended with a final score of 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) in favor of the La Liga club. With this result, Sevilla officially secured a spot in the 2022/23 Europa League final, where they will face AS Roma.
Sevilla’s opponent in the final is Roma, another representative from Italy. In the simultaneous match, Jose Mourinho’s team managed to hold Bayer Leverkusen to a goalless draw on German soil.
With a one-goal advantage from the first leg thanks to 20-year-old Edoardo Bove, Roma showcased Mourinho’s characteristic pragmatic style of play as they traveled to Germany. At the BayArena, the Rome-based club had only 28% ball possession and registered a single shot on goal – a chance where Tammy Abraham set up Lorenzo Pellegrini for a long-range effort that hit the post in the 2nd minute.
For the remaining 90 minutes, including added time, the ball remained predominantly in Roma’s defensive half as Leverkusen attempted 23 shots with six on target. The most dangerous opportunity in the first half came in the 12th minute when Moussa Diaby sprinted past Roger Ibanez and unleashed a shot that hit the crossbar. After that, Kerem Demirbay and Sardar Azmoun took shots at the visitors’ goal, but they were unable to beat Rui Patricio.
A similar scenario unfolded in the second half as Roma focused on defending, forcing Leverkusen to seek opportunities from long-range shots. The hosts came closest to scoring in the 81st minute when Azmoun’s close-range rebound effort went wide of the post.
Leonardo Spinazzola and Zeki Celik joined the list of injured players, while Pellegrini had to leave the field in the final moments of the match, including eight minutes of stoppage time filled with breathless pressure. However, Roma held firm to reach the European Cup final for the second consecutive time.
This marks the sixth occasion for Manager Mourinho to reach a cup final in European competitions (including the Champions League, UEFA Cup, Europa League, and Conference League). According to statistics from Squawka, the “Special One” has won all the previous European Cup finals he has participated in. However, it’s important to note that Sevilla also boasts a 100% winning record in Europa League finals.
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