Superior Sevilla Side Pushes Roma Out of Europa League

Roma’s new president Dan Friedkin was surely hoping for a different start for his adventure in charge of the Roman Wolves. Instead, his first game as Giallorossi chairman in pectore ended in a 0-2 loss to Sevilla on neutral turf at the MSV Arena in Duisburg.

Thursday night’s defeat marked the end of Roma’s season as the Giallorossi were pushed out of the Europa League. In the second round of a Spanish-Italian confrontation – which saw Inter beating Getafe on Wednesday – a superior Sevilla side brusquely showed the exit door of the European competition to a Roma lineup that never appeared capable of posing any threat to Julen Lopetegui’s white-and-reds.

Sevilla put two past the Giallorossi with Sergio Reguilon and Youssef En-Nesiry, both so big appeared the gap between the two sides that a victory by a wider margin would not have been unfair to the Andalusians.

Roma’s Paulo Fonseca confirmed the 3-4-2-1 lineup he has been using in the latest Serie A games, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nicoló Zaniolo behind lone striker Edin Dzeko. Roger Ibanez replaced Chris Smalling in defense as the Englishman came back to Manchester United following the end of his loan spell.

Among the Sevilla lines, Julen Lopetegui couldn’t count on his starting goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik who failed to recover from an injury. The former Spain trainer deployed a three-man attacking line featuring former Milan players Lucas Ocampos and Suso.

The first stages of the game were a Sevilla monologue. Roma initially breathed a sigh of relief as Jules Koundé’s header hit Pau Lopez’s crossbar at the end of an 11-minute long siege that saw the Andalusian side putting the Giallorossi to the ropes.

But, as Fonseca’s side struggled to cope with the Spanish side’s aggressiveness, they eventually conceded the first in the 21st minute when Sergio Reguilon – well-served by Ever Banega – came up with an irresistible progression, won Bruno Perez’s weak opposition, and beat Roma’s goalkeeper with a left-foot shot which slid between his legs.

Lopetegui’s side doubled their lead just before the half time mark as Lucas Ocampos pierced through the Giallorossi defense from the right side to serve Youssef En-Nesyri an assist which the Moroccan couldn’t fail to convert.

Roma were counting much on Nicoló Zaniolo but the young starlet was well contained by the Sevilla defenders and eventually left the pitch with 0 shooting attempts to his record

Roma didn’t manage to record a single shot on the target for the whole first half, their biggest chance being a combination between Nicoló Zaniolo and Edin Dzeko in the 34th minute which Sevilla’s defense, however, managed to neutralize. Zaniolo was mostly restrained by Fernando and Diego Carlos, who often went quite rough on Roma’s young starlet to keep him at bay.

Zaniolo eventually left the pitch in the 58th minute together with Amadou Diawara as part of a double substitution operated by Paulo Fonseca in an attempt to re-ignite the game with fresh forces. A few minutes earlier, Henrikh Mkhitaryan had finally woken up with a sharp left-foot shot which ended its run only a few inches far from goalkeeper Bono’s left post.

Sevilla, however, cruised past the second half in full control mode. The VAR denied them the joy of a third goal as it caught Jules Koundé in a slight offside position when he slotted the ball past Pau Lopez from a cross by substitute Munir El Haddadi. Later in the game, Ever Banega hit the crossbar from the free-kick spot and Pau Lopez saved from Koundé to keep the score unchanged.

The Spanish side will face the winner between Wolverhampton and Olympiacos on Tuesday in their Quarter Final bout and keep cultivating the dream of winning the Europa League for an unprecedented sixth time.

Roma and their new president, on the other hand, will have much work to do to make the Roman side more competitive both domestically and in Europe.


August 6, 2020 – Europa League 2019-20 Round of 16

SCORERS: 21′ Reguilon, 43′ En-Nesyri

SEVILLA (4-3-3): Bono; Jesus Navas, Koundé, Diego Carlos, Reguilon; Banega, Fernando, Jordan; Ocampos (94′ Vázquez), Suso (66′ Munir), En-Nesyri (93′ L. de Jong) (Vaclík, Sánchez, Sergi Gómez, Escudero, Óliver Torres, Mena, José Alonso, Genaro, Perez Rico) Coach: Lopetegui
ROMA (3-4-2-1): Pau Lopez; Mancini, Ibanez, Kolarov (78′ Villar); Bruno Peres, Cristante, Diawara (58′ Carles Perez), Spinazzola; Zaniolo (58′ Lo. Pellegrini), Mkhitaryan; Dzeko (Mirante, Cardinali, Perotti, Under, Santon, Kalinic, Fazio, Calafiori, Kluivert) Coach: Fonseca

REFEREE: Kuipers (Netherlands)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Diego Carlos, Jordan (S), Kolarov, Lo. Pellegrini (R); Red Card: Mancini (R); Extra Time: 1st Half 4′, 2nd Half 8′