Thursday August 6 2020
Sevilla 2-0 Roma: Giallorossi crash out of Europe

Roma crashed out of the Europa League at the Round of 16 after being rail-roaded by Sevilla, who won 2-0, hit the woodwork twice and had a goal ruled narrowly offside.

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The first leg was never played due to the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, so this became a one-off knockout Round of 16 clash on neutral turf in Duisburg.

Jordan Veretout was suspended and Lorenzo Pellegrini only ready for the bench after fracturing his nose, so Bryan Cristante stepped into midfield. Chris Smalling and Davide Zappacosta were not eligible for the Europa League after their loan deals, so Roger Ibanez joined the three-man defence. There were many ex-Serie A players in the Sevilla squad, including Suso and Lucas Ocampos of Milan, Inter’s Ever Banega and former Palermo man Franco Vazquez, but Nemanja Gudelj was ruled out after testing positive for Coronavirus.

It was an aggressive Spanish start, Pau Lopez fingertipping the Lucas Ocampos curler over the bar, then Jules Kounde’s header cracked against the crossbar from a corner.

Sevilla were pouring forward and putting together a series of corners, so it was no surprise when they broke the deadlock. Sergio Reguilon sprinted past Bruno Peres and Ibanez into the box, but Pau Lopez should’ve done much better on the angled drive, which squirmed through his legs at the near post.

Pau Lopez and the defence were almost caught out horribly again, but this time Jesus Navas prodded the finish wide of an open goal.

Roma finally created a genuine chance on 35 minutes, as Edin Dzeko was denied by a desperate tackle in the box, then Diego Carlos flung himself in the way to deflect the Zaniolo follow-up off target.

A poor Bruno Peres first touch ruined a promising Giallorossi move, as they got more into the game following a dismal opening half-hour.

Just as they were starting to build some pressure, Sevilla doubled the lead. Dzeko had appeals for a foul rejected and the Spaniards immediately went on the counter, Ibanez failing entirely to catch Ocampos with the sliding tackle, allowing him to pull back for Youssef En-Nesyri to turn into an empty net.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s angled drive flashed inches wide after the restart, then he set up Cristante only for a crucial Kounde block from eight yards.

Dzeko came close with a shot on the turn that was just over from Mkhitaryan’s assist, but Sevilla had the ball in the net again on 73 minutes when Kounde sliding in at the back post to volley in the Munir cross, only for it to be ruled marginally offside.

Paulo Fonseca returned to four at the back in the final 12 minutes, but it made precious little difference. In fact, Ever Banega threatened a third for Sevilla with his free kick thumping the crossbar and Pau Lopez made a stoppage-time save on Kounde’s free header.

Deep into the seemingly endless stoppages, Gianluca Mancini was booked for jutting out an arm on the back of Luuk de Jong’s head. The referee viewed it again with the VAR monitor and opted for a straight red.

Sevilla 2-0 Roma

Reguilon 22 (S), En-Nesyri 44 (S)

Sevilla: Bounou; Jesus Navas, Koundé, Diego Carlos, Reguilòn; Banega, Fernando, Jordan; Ocampos (Vazquez 95), En-Nesyri (De Jong 93), Suso (Munir 67)

Roma: Pau Lopez; Mancini, Ibanez, Kolarov (Villar 78); Bruno Peres, Cristante, Diawara (Pellegrini 57), Spinazzola; Zaniolo (Carles Perez 57), Mkhitaryan; Dzeko

Ref: Kuipers (NED)

Sent off: Mancini 99 (R)