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Sevilla vs Roma match preview
It’s time for the the 52nd UEFA Cup/Europa League Final, with two clubs, who have recent expirence of winning European trophies, going head-to-head in Budapest.
Sevilla are the record six-times winners of this competition, with all of their triumphs coming since 2006.
In fact, in this period, los Nervionenses have only entered the competition on 11 occasions, never failed to lift the trophy when featuring in the quarter-finals, two remarkable statistics.
This time round, Sevillistas have knocked out PSV, Fenerbahçe, Manchester United and Juventus, winning all four home matches, concerningly failing to win all four away legs.
In the semis, they had to come from behind to oust Juve, doing so courtesy of Suso’s rocket and then Erik Lamela’s back-post header in extra time at a raucous Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
Domestically, it’s been a dreadful season for los Hispalenses, who were in a relegation battle not so long ago, sacking Julen Lopetegui in October and then Jorge Sampaoli in March.
José Luis Mendilibar has come in and steadied the ship, losing just one of ten league matches, prior to Saturday’s defeat against Real Madrid.
Baring a set of freak results, Sevilla aren’t going to qualify for Europe via La Liga on the final day.
Nevertheless, despite being on course for their lowest finish since 1996, they’re 90 minutes from Champions League qualification, and a record-extending seventh Europa League title.
Roma too simply need to win here if they’re to end their five-year Champions League exile, sat sixth in Serie A, having failed to win any of their last seven league matches.
But, ever since he arrived in the Eternal City, José Mourinho’s focus has been on delivering silverware, something he’s already achieved.
12 months ago, I Giallorossi beat Feyenoord in the inaugural Europa Conference League Final, the club’s first trophy for 15 years and their first European triumph for 62 years.
This season, la Lupa have ousted RB Salzburg, Real Sociedad, Feyenoord in extra time and then Bayer Leverkusen in the knockout stages.
That semi-final was a classic José display; win the first leg 1-0, before a goalless draw in Germany, in which his team had just 28% possession and mustered only one shot.
The ball was in play for less than 54 minutes of that clash at BayArena, highlighting how this final might go too, especially if Roma go in-front.
While Sevilla have a 100% record in Europa League finals, Mourinho himself has won all five UEFA club competition finals he’s ever managed in, with his side keeping a clean sheet in each of the last four.
So, there is plenty at stake in Hungary, with both needing to win, not just in the search for silverware, but also to salvage underwhelming domestic campaigns and sneak into the Champions League.
It’s unlikely to be a goal-fest, but who will be the 2023 Europa League winners at Puskás Aréna?
Sevilla team news
Left-back will be a concern for José Luis Mendilibar with first-choice Marcos Acuña suspended following his extra time red card against Juventus 13 nights ago.
Manchester United loanee Alex Telles, who scored a penalty in the 2021 final shootout, is the most obvious deputy, although Karim Rekik could be asked to fill-in there.
Captain Jesús Navas and Ivan Rakitić have both won this competition with Sevilla before, and will remain key to their success.
Moroccan striker Youssef En-Nesyri has been on fire since the World Cup, scoring decisive goals against both Man United and Juventus.
Neither Pape Gueye or Tecatito Corona, who’s only just back after a long-term injury, can feature as neither are in the UEFA squad.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Bounou; Navas, Badé, Gudelj, Rekik; Fernando, Jordán, Ocampos, Rakitić, Lamela; En-Nesyri.
Roma team news
José Mourinho made wholesale changes for Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Fiorentina, with all eyes on this one.
21 year old midfielder Edoardo Bove, the only scorer in the semi against Leverkusen, will keep his place, chosen over Georginio Wijnaldum.
Fit again Chris Smalling could return to the back three, with either Bryan Cristante or Gianluca Mancini thereby missing out.
Star man Paulo Dybala hasn’t started since hobbling off in Rotterdam on 13 April, so Andrea Belotti could partner Tammy Abraham up front, with la Joya left in reserve.
Goalkeeper Rui Patrício is the Europa League’s record appearance holder, with 72 and counting (not including qualifiers), and is now one game away from winning the competition for the very first time.
Predicted XI (3-5-2): Patrício; Smalling, Ibañez, Mancini; Çelik, Matić, Pellegrini, Bove, Spinazzola; Belotti, Abraham.