Kick-off: 2000, 31/05/2023
Stadium: Puskas Arena
TV: BT Sport
A classic Europa League final is on the cards when Sevilla do battle with Roma at Puskas Arena in Budapest.
Los Rojiblancos are the undisputed kings of this competition, prevailing a record six times, while the Giallorossi are managed by serial silverware winner Jose Mourinho.
We just feel the Spanish side have peaked at the right time and 5/6 for them to lift the trophy again is our first Sevilla vs Roma prediction.
Mendilibar move proving master stroke
Having edged out PSV and Fenerbahce in the early knockout rounds, Sevilla were fortunate to draw 2-2 away to Manchester United in the first leg of their quarter-final.
However, Los Rojiblancos were totally dominant when hammering the Red Devils 3-0 in the return fixture at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
In the semis, they looked set to beat Juventus in Turin until conceding an equaliser deep into stoppage time.
Another thrilling game in Seville was then decided by Erik Lamela’s header five minutes into extra-time.
Moise Kean hit the post for Juve in the first half but they were indebted to goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for a string of saves, the best denying Lucas Ocampos.
The Italians took the lead in the 65th minute through Dusan Vlahovic moments after he came off the bench, but six minutes later another substitute, Suso, levelled with a stunning strike.
Sevilla thought they had won it at the end of normal time but Szczesny produced another brilliant save to keep out Youssef En-Nesyri’s header.
However, the Pole was beaten by Lamela, with the Argentinian meeting Bryan Gil’s cross with a header into the bottom corner.
Marcos Acuna was shown a second yellow card for time wasting, but Sevilla held on to reach a seventh final in 18 years, where they will look to maintain their perfect record.
Replacing Jorge Sampaoli with Jose Luis Mendilibar towards the end of March has allowed them to get back to doing what they do best, playing with great energy and enthusiasm.
Looking at the 3/1 for the Spanish outfit to prevail by any one-goal margin in normal time.
Roma lacking goals on the road
Roma had not won a European tournament since the 1961 Inter-City Fairs Cup before bringing in Mourinho, who lifted this trophy with Manchester United in 2017 to add to Champions League triumphs at Porto and Inter Milan.
The Special One worked his magic as the Giallorossi got the better of Leicester and then Feyenoord to land the inaugural Europa Conference League last season.
This term, Roma have knocked out RB Salzburg, Real Sociedad, Feyenoord again and Bayer Leverkusen on the road to Budapest.
The Italian outfit stoutly defended their 1-0 advantage from the first leg against Leverkusen to secure a goalless stalemate in Germany.
Xabi Alonso’s side threw everything at Roma in a bid to level matters on aggregate but the closest they came was a powerful shot from Moussa Diaby in the 12th minute that hit the bar.
It was a Mourinho masterclass in the second half, as Roma denied their opponents clear-cut opportunities, with Sardar Azmoun’s close-range effort going narrowly wide late on.
However, there are two factors which give cause for concern; Roma have failed to score in four straight away legs, losing twice, and their Serie A form has faltered of late.
Mourinho will no doubt look to keep things tight once more, but 23/4 for a 1-0 scoreline.
|35'||Paulo Dybala |
(Assist: Gianluca Mancini)
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