AS Roma deals first blow to Leverkusen, Juventus and Sevilla play draw
Feyenoord challenger AS Roma has dealt the first blow in the semifinals of the Europa League. In Rome, José Mourinho’s team won 1-0 against Bayer Leverkusen. Edoardo Bove was the match winner.
The semifinal between AS Roma and Leverkusen was the reunion between José Mourinho and Xabi Alonso, who still played under the Portuguese at Real Madrid.
Their clubs balanced each other in the first half. For the Italian club Georginio Wijnaldum and Rick Karsdorp started on the bench, for the German sub Jeremie Frimpong started and Mitchel Bakker replaced the Ivorian Odilon Kossounou, who was injured in his hamstring, ten minutes before halftime.
The first chance was for Leverkusen. Florian Wirtz’s shot went just wide. The biggest opportunity before halftime was for Roma. From a free kick Roger Ibañez headed the ball at the goal, but the rebound could just not be worked in by Tammy Abraham.
The Englishman failed to do the same in the 63rd minute, only this time the rebound was shot in by the newly 20-year-old Bove for the 1-0. And that goal actually came out of nowhere,
The rest of the game “rained” mostly yellow cards, four for Roma, three for the Germans. In the closing stages, Frimpong volleyed onto the body of defender Bryan Cristante.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah remained on the bench at Leverkusen, as did Karsdorp at Roma. Wijnaldum came on in 76th minute.
At Juventus against Sevilla, it seemed to be heading for a 0-1 win for the Spaniards. Substitute Federico Gatti saved the proverbial furniture for Juve in the injury.
Sevilla, with former premier league player Nemanja Gudelj in the starting lineup as a central defender, had the best chances in the first half. The Argentine and ex-Ajacied Lucas Ocampos had a huge opportunity to score after only 15 minutes, but pounced on goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Ten minutes later it was still on target when again Ocampos was sent away on the right. Bryan Gil wisely let his cross run, which was then slid in by striker Youssef En-Nesyri, the man who shot Morocco to the semifinals at the World Cup. Croatian Ivan Rakitic had the 0-2 on his feet five minutes before halftime. Szczesny tapped his shot just over.
English substitute misses
English substitute Samuel Iling-Junior failed to bring “The Old Lady” alongside twenty minutes after halftime. Juventus did get a little better, but goals did not result. Indeed, after ninety minutes the home club had only one ball between the posts.
In injury time it happened again and it was an instant hit. From a corner, substitute Gatti headed in the 1-1. Karim Rekik remained on the bench at Sevilla.
The returns are a week from now, on Thursday, May 18.