Roma and Leicester City face off in the Italian capital for the decisive second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final with everything to play for after the English side, who are looking to reach a European final for the first time , came back to draw 1-1 at home in the first leg.
• Despite taking just one point from Bodø/Glimt in their two group encounters, sensationally losing 6-1 in Norway and drawing 2-2 at home, the Romans edged their Nordic rivals to take top spot in UEFA Europa Conference League Group C, scoring 18 goals – best attack of the group stage – before beating Vitesse in the round of 16 (1- 0, 1-1). Against Bodø/Glimt again in the quarter-finals, José Mourinho’s side lost 2-1 in Norway but rallied to win 4-0 in Rome, Tammy Abraham scoring the first before Nicolò Zaniolo’s spectacular hat-trick.
• Leicester finished third in UEFA Europa League Group C in the autumn, two points behind Spartak Moskva and Roma’s rivals Napoli in southern Italy after losing 3-2 at Napoli on the 6th day. The English however emerged victorious from three double confrontations of UEFA Europa Conference League, the first in a certain comfort against Randers (4-1, 3-1), the second and the third after Homeric fights against Rennes (2-0 , 1-2) and PSV Eindhoven (0-0, 2-1), late goals from James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira in the Netherlands ensuring the club’s run through to at least the semi-finals .
• Roma struck first at Leicester City on 28 April, captain Lorenzo Pellegrini giving his side the lead in the 15th minute, but the English, who dominated possession, were rewarded with an equalizer at the 67th minute when Roma defender Gianluca Mancini, under pressure from Ademola Lookman, deflected a Harvey Barnes cross into his own net
• This is Roma’s first meeting with England since losing to Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals last season, losing 6-2 in the first leg at Old Trafford before win the return at the Stadio Olimpico 3-2. The elimination was the eighth consecutive home-and-away tie against English clubs, following wins in the first three.
• Roma have won 12 of their 20 UEFA matches in Rome against English visitors, including six of the last seven, although their last three victories have come in knockout ties – 1-0 against Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 League 2008/09, 4-2 against Liverpool in the semi-finals of the same competition ten years later, and the 3-2 victory against Manchester United last season – were all insufficient to turn the tide after defeats at the go to England. Beaten on penalties at the Stadio Olimpico by Arsenal, such was also the fate of the Giallorossi in the 1984 Champions Cup final against Liverpool after a 1-1 draw.
• Leicester had never met an Italian opponent in UEFA competition before their two UEFA Europa League group games against Napoli earlier this season. Ayoze Pérez and Barnes put the Foxes ahead 2-0 in the 2-2 draw at home on Matchday 1, and Jonny Evans and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall found the net in the 3-2 loss away on matchday six.• The Italians have conceded 14 goals on their last 3 visits to England and also suffered their heaviest away defeat in UEFA competition in that country, losing 7 -1 against Manchester United in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg.
About the teams
• Roma finished seventh in Serie A last season, 29 points behind champions Inter to become Italy’s first representative in the UEFA Europa Conference League. After dominating their 2020/21 UEFA Europa League group, which included Young Boys, CFR Cluj and CSKA-Sofia, Paulo Fonseca’s men knocked out Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk and Ajax in the knockout stage direct, only to lose in the semi-final against Manchester United.
• Now under a new Portuguese manager, Mourinho, who took over from Paulo Fonseca, Roma won both legs of their UEFA Europa Conference League play-off against Trabzonspor, and although Bodø/Glimt took the on top in their Group C head-to-head, the Giallorossi took maximum points against CSKA-Sofia (5-1, 3-2) and Zorya Luhansk (3-0, 4-0) to finish with a point ahead of their Norwegian rivals at the top of the group – before knocking them out in the quarter-finals.
• This is Roma’s sixth appearance in a UEFA semi-final. La Louve have won two of the previous five but lost both – both to English opponents. Manchester United’s exit from the UEFA Europa League last season had been preceded three years earlier by a 7-6 aggregate defeat in the UEFA Champions League against Liverpool (2-5, 4 -2). Roma’s last European semi-final victory dates back to the 1990/91 UEFA Cup, against Brøndby (0-0, 2-1).
• A 0-2 loss to holders Real Madrid in the 2018/19 Champions League group stage is the only one of their last 28 European matches in the Italian capital that Roma have lost, for 20 victories. Quarter-final victory against Bodø/Glimt means the Romans are now unbeaten in 18 UEFA matches at the Olimpico.
• Roma have won the first six of eight UEFA fixtures they have drawn away from home, including the 1990/91 UEFA Cup semi-final against Brøndby and three other draws 1-1, but lost the last two – identically, with a 0-3 loss at home after a 1-1 draw away to Fiorentina in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 2014/15 and Porto in the qualifying round for the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League. In both of those home defeats, Roma had players sent off – one against Fiorentina, two against Porto.
• Leicester secured a second consecutive appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage by winning the FA Cup for the first time in their history last May with a 1-0 victory in the final against Chelsea. However, in a repeat of the previous season, Brendan Rodgers’ side narrowly missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification, finishing fifth in the Premier League after spending most of the campaign in the top four.
• The Foxes won their UEFA Europa League group stage last season on their debut in the competition but were knocked out in the round of 32 by Slavia Praha (0-0, 0-2). This year they have won two, drawn two and lost two of their six Group C games with Napoli, Legia Warszawa and Spartak, culminating in a 4-3 victory in Moscow where new signing Patson Daka scored all four goals. The East Midlanders’ subsequent record in the UEFA Europa Conference League is 4 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss.
• This is Leicester’s first European semi-final in only their sixth season in UEFA competition.
• The quarter-final win in Eindhoven was just Leicester’s sixth of their 19 away matches in UEFA competition (D3 L10) and only their second European win away from England in the spring (1 draw, 3 defeats), the first having taken place in February at Randers in a direct elimination play-off. Leicester have scored in their last five European away matches – 12 goals in total – after not scoring in the previous three.
• The Foxes have lost the last two UEFA games where they drew 1-1 at home first leg – against Atlético de Madrid in the second round of the 1961/62 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (0-2 away) and Crvena zvezda in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup first round (1-3 away) – but in the only other game they were held to a draw at home in the first leg, against PSV in the quarter-finals this season, they triumphed.
We know each other
• Roma have three Englishmen in their squad: defender Chris Smalling (Fulham 2008-10, Manchester United 2010-20), midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal 2014-, Ipswich 2015/16 on loan, West Bromwich Albion 2021 loan) and striker Abraham (Chelsea 2016-21, Bristol City 2016/17 loan, Swansea 2017/18 loan, Aston Villa 2018/19 loan).
• Other Roma players to appear in the Premier League are Jordan Veretout (Aston Villa, 2015/16), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United 2016-18, Arsenal 2018-20) and Rui Patrício (Wolves 2018-21).
• Mkhitaryan scored for United in a 3-0 win at Leicester in the Premier League in 2016/17.
• Roma manager Mourinho has considerable experience of English football, having managed Chelsea (2004-07, 2013-15), Manchester United (2016-18) and Tottenham Hotspur (2019 -21). He won seven major trophies with Chelsea, including three Premier League titles, and a UEFA Europa League/League Cup double with United in 2016/17.
• Leicester manager Rodgers was coach of the youth and reserve teams at Chelsea during Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge.
• Mourinho was unbeaten in his first five Premier League meetings with Rodgers (W4 D1), Chelsea’s first four against Liverpool, including a famous 2-0 win at Anfield eight years ago, but lost the most recent, when Leicester won 2-0 at Tottenham on December 20, 2020 with Jamie Vardy on the scoresheet.
• One of Mourinho’s only two defeats in ten Premier League appearances against Leicester (W7 D1) was a 2-1 away defeat at the helm of Chelsea on 14 December 2015 – a result which caused his dismissal three days later. His next match against Leicester, his first as Manchester United manager, resulted in a 2–1 victory at Wembley in the FA Community Shield the following August. Vardy scored for Leicester in both of those matches.
• Timothy Castagne (Leicester) played in Italy for Atalanta between 2017 and 2020. He scored in both Serie A games against Roma in 2018/19, both drawing 3-3, making the Roma club first against which he had scored more than one goal in his professional career.
• Roma defender Roger Ibañez was a Castagne team-mate at Atalanta in 2018/19, despite making just one appearance for the Bergamo club.
• Ricardo (Leicester) and Sérgio Oliveira (Roma) played together at Porto in 2017/18 and are both Portugal internationals, as is Rui Patrício.
• Daniel Amartey (Leicester) and Felix Afena-Gyan (Roma) started both matches in Ghana’s recent 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off success against Nigeria together.
• Abraham is joint-top scorer in the UEFA Europa Conference League with eight goals, tied with Feyenoord’s Cyriel Dessers.
• Although Roma were winners of the Inter-Cities Inter-Cities Cup in 1961, they have never won a UEFA club competition, losing two finals – the 1984 Champions Cup on penalties against Liverpool after a 1-1 draw in Rome, and the 1991 UEFA Cup in two legs against Serie A rivals Inter (0-2, 1-0).
Shoot to the net
• Roma’s record in four UEFA penalty shootouts is 1 qualification and 3 eliminations:
4-2 v Norrköping, 1982/83 UEFA Cup second round
3-4 v Liverpool, 1983/84 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final
3-4 v Real Zaragoza, 1986/87 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round
6-7 v Arsenal, 2008/09 UEFA Champions League Round of 16
• Leicester have yet to take part in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.