Preview: Roma vs. Leicester City

Preview: Roma vs. Leicester City

With everything to play for after a first-leg draw in England, Roma and Leicester City will fight for a place in the Europa Conference League final at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.

The Italian side took an early lead away from home but head into the second leg level after a second-half equaliser from Brendan Rodgers’s men.

Roma headed into the Europa Conference League semi-finals on the back of an impressive turnaround in the previous round, as they came from behind to dump out Bodo/Glimt.

Jose Mourinho’s men had already suffered a shock 6-1 defeat to the Norwegian outfit in the group stage, and they fell 2-1 behind in the first leg, only to put up a dominant 4-0 thrashing in the reverse fixture in Italy.

Tammy Abraham drew them level on aggregate inside the first five minutes before Nicolo Zaniolo hit a hat-trick to book their semi-final tie with Leicester City, and the Giallorossi made the trip to England for the first leg last week.
Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Mourinho’s side the lead in the 15th minute, but they were eventually forced to return to the Italian capital on level terms after conceding a second-half equaliser.

While Roma should not be disheartened by coming into the second leg level with home advantage, they do come in on the back of a disappointing goalless draw with Bologna at the weekend, ruling out a top-four finish in Serie A as a result, and they will now be keen to bounce back and earn a place in the final on Thursday.

Leicester City, meanwhile, also arrive looking to put their league form behind them, as the Foxes have endured an underwhelming campaign in the Premier League by their own standards.

The continental run has been somewhat of a shining light, though, as, after dropping out of the Europa League group stage, they got past Randers and Rennes before meeting Dutch high-flyers PSV Eindhoven in the quarter-finals.

After a goalless first leg, Brendan Rodgers’s men went behind in the Netherlands, only for James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira to net goals in the final 15 minutes to overturn the deficit and secure their progression to the final four.

They now come into Thursday’s second leg in the Italian capital on level terms thanks to a second-half own goal last week, as Harvey Barnes’s cross was diverted into the Giallorossi’s net by defender Gianluca Mancini just after the hour mark.

Now on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, putting them 11th in the English top flight and without a win in four league games, Rodgers’s men will fight to keep their hopes of lifting the trophy alive with a second-leg win on Thursday, with the Conference League title being their only remaining avenue into continental football next season.

Roma Europa Conference League form:
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Roma form (all competitions):
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Leicester City Europa Conference League form:
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Leicester City form (all competitions):
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We say: Roma 2-1 Leicester City (Roma win 3-2 on aggregate)
Roma battled well and showed their quality before leaving Leicester with a draw last week, and, with the benefit of a passionate and hostile home crowd, they could go one better in the second leg.

The Foxes travel with a badly hit squad and little momentum, and we would not be surprised to see them fall just short against Jose Mourinho’s well-drilled side at the Stadio Olimpico.

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