AS Roma too strong at home for Real Sociedad, draw at Sporting Arsenal
AS Roma won the first edition of the Conference League last season through a win over Feyenoord in the final and has its sights set on the Europa League for this year. Another step in that direction was taken by the 2-0 home victory in the eighth finals over Real Sociedad.
Arsenal, leaders in the Premier League, ended up 2-2 on a visit to Sporting Portugal after an attractive game with chances back and forth.
Karsdorp shows himself
Rick Karsdorp was behind AS Roma’s opening goal. He conquered the ball after just under 15 minutes from the Diego Rico, who had advanced with him, and immediately set up Paulo Dybala, released by the Spanish left-back. Tammy Abraham then found Stephan El Shaarawy at the far post.
Real Sociedad then spent the rest of the match looking in vain for a hole in the Romans’ defense, where Georginio Wijnaldum spent the last half hour as a substitute. He watched from close range as Marash Kumbulla nodded in the 2-0 from a corner kick shortly before time.
St. Juste with crucial save
Arsenal did not arrive at Sporting Portugal at full strength – partly due to injuries, partly because manager Mikel Artete allowed captain Martin Ødegaard, among others, to rest. William Saliba nevertheless headed the London side to 0-1. He beat former Heerenveen and Feyenoord defender Jeremiah St. Juste in the air from a corner kick.
Even before the break, the home side came alongside, also from a corner kick. Gonçalo Inácio knocked in American World Cup goalkeeper Matt Turner from close range. The replacement for first goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who was on the bench, did have an answer to Marcus Edwards’ fearsome shot moments later.
The English midfielder, who wore the shirt of Rotterdam’s Excelsior in the 2018/2019 season, gave a clever cross ball to Goncalves ten minutes after halftime. His shot could be turned away by Turner, but Paulinho struck in the rebound: 2-1.
With a clever defensive move, St. Juste managed to keep Gabriel Martinelli from the equalizer, but it came anyway after Paulinho missed another giant chance for 3-1. A hard cross from Granit Xhaka caromed into the Portuguese goal via Sporting player Hidemasa Morita.
Union Berlin, which eliminated Ajax in the intermediate round, came back from a deficit three times against Union Sint-Gillis. The 3-3 for the German formation with Danilho Doekhi in defense did not fall until the 89th minute.
For the Belgians, former Feyenoord player Bart Nieuwkoop provided the assist for the 2-3 and Yorbe Vertessen, rented from PSV, was good for an assist (0-1) and a goal (1-2).
Results eighth finals Europa League (away match)
|AS Roma||– Real Sociedad||2-0|
|Sporting Portugal||– Arsenal||2-2|
|Bayer Leverkusen||– Ferencváros||2-0|
|Union Berlin||– Union Saint-Gilles||3-3|
|Shachtar Donetsk||– Feyenoord|
|Manchester United||– Real Betis|
|Juventus||– SC Freiburg|
|Returns on Thursday, March 16|