Roma and Leicester City meet 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, seeking to reach a European final for the first time, came from behind to draw their home leg 1-1.
• Despite taking only one point off Bodø / Glimt in their two autumn encounters, sensationally losing 6-1 away and drawing 2-2 at home, Roma pipped their Norwegian rivals to top spot in UEFA Europa Conference League Group C, hitting 18 goals – the most of any team in the group stage – before edging past Vitesse in the round of 16 (1-0 a, 1-1 h). Paired once more with Bodø / Glimt in the quarter-finals, José Mourinho’s team lost again in Norway, 2-1, but recovered to win 4-0 in Rome, Tammy Abraham scoring first before Nicolò Zaniolo’s spectacular hat-trick.
Leicester finished third in UEFA Europa League Group C during the autumn, two points behind both Spartak Moscow and Roma’s southern Italian rivals Napoli, after losing 3-2 in Naples on Matchday 6. They have, however, come through three UEFA Europa Conference League ties, the first in some comfort against Randers (4-1 h, 3-1 a), the second and third after tight contests with Rennes (2-0 h, 1-2 a) and PSV Eindhoven (0-0 h, 2-1 a) respectively, late goals from James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira in the Netherlands securing the club’s historic progress to the semi-finals.
Roma vs Leicester: the latest from the match
Roma struck first at the Leicester City Stadium on 28 April as captain Lorenzo Pellegrini put his team ahead with a composed 15th-minute strike, but the home side, who dominated possession, were rewarded with a 67th-minute equalizer as Roma defender Gianluca Mancini , under pressure from Ademola Lookman, turned Harvey Barnes’ cross into his own net.
• This is Roma’s first European tie against English opposition since they lost to Manchester United in last season’s UEFA Europa League semi-final, going down 6-2 in the first leg at Old Trafford before winning the Stadio Olimpico return 3-2. That aggregate defeat was their eighth in succession in two-legged UEFA contests against English clubs following victories in their first three.
Roma have won 12 of their 20 UEFA fixtures in Rome against English visitors (D4 L4), including six of the last seven, although their last three victories there in knockout fixtures – 1-0 against Arsenal in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16, 4-2 against Liverpool in the semi-finals of the same competition ten years later, and last season’s 3-2 win against Manchester United – were all insufficient to turn around the tie after first-leg defeats in England. Beaten on penalties at the Stadio Olimpico by Arsenal, that had also been Giallorossi’s fate in the 1984 European Cup final against Liverpool following a 1-1 draw.
• Leicester had never met Italian opposition in UEFA competition until their two UEFA Europa League group games against Napoli earlier this season, Ayoze Pérez and Barnes putting the Foxes 2-0 up in a 2-2 home draw on Matchday 1, and Jonny Evans and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall finding the net in the 3-2 away defeat on Matchday 6.
• Roma finished seventh in Serie A last season, 29 points behind champions Inter, to become Italy’s first UEFA Europa Conference League representatives. After topping their 2020/21 UEFA Europa League group, which included Young Boys, CFR Cluj and CSKA-Sofia, Paulo Fonseca’s side eliminated Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk and Ajax in the knockout phase, only to bow out to Manchester United in the semi-finals .
• Now led by another Portuguese coach, Mourinho, Roma won both legs of their UEFA Europa Conference League play-off against Trabzonspor, and although Bodø / Glimt got the better of them in their Group C head-to-head encounters, the Giallorossi took maximum points off both CSKA-Sofia (5-1 h, 3-2 a) and Zorya Luhansk (3-0 a, 4-0 h) to finish a point ahead of their Norwegian rivals at the top of the group – before eliminating them in the quarter-finals.
• This is Roma’s sixth appearance in a UEFA semi-final. They have won two of the previous five but lost the last two – both against English opposition – with last season’s UEFA Europa League elimination by Manchester United preceded three years earlier by a 7-6 aggregate defeat in the UEFA Champions League by Liverpool (2- 5 a, 4-2 h). Roma’s last European semi-final victory came against Brøndby in the 1990/91 UEFA Cup (0-0 a, 2-1 h).
• A 0-2 defeat against holders Real Madrid in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League group stage is the only one of their last 28 European fixtures in the Italian capital that Roma have lost, winning 20. The quarter-final win against Bodø / Glimt means they are now unbeaten in 18 UEFA matches at the Olimpico (W12 D6). Their European home record this season is W4 D2.
• Roma won the first six of the eight UEFA ties in which they drew the first leg away, including that 1990/91 UEFA Cup semi-final against Brøndby and three others when the score was 1-1, but have lost the last two – both in identical fashion, with a 0-3 home defeat following a 1-1 away draw, against fellow Italian side Fiorentina in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 16 and Porto in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League qualifying play-off . In both of those home defeats Roma had players sent off – one against Fiorentina, two against Porto.
• Leicester booked back-to-back appearances in the UEFA Europa League group stage by winning the FA Cup for the first time in their history last May thanks to a 1-0 victory in the final against Chelsea. However, in a repeat of the previous season Brendan Rodgers’ side just missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification, finishing fifth in the Premier League after spending almost all of the campaign in the top four.
• The Foxes won their UEFA Europa League group last season on their competition debut but were eliminated in the round of 32 by Slavia Praha (0-0 a, 0-2 h). This term they won two, drew two and lost two of their six Group C games with Napoli, Legia Warszawa and Spartak, the highlight a 4-3 win in Moscow where new signing Patson Daka scored all four goals. The East Midlanders’ subsequent record in the UEFA Europa Conference League is W4 D2 L1 F13 A6.
• This is Leicester’s first European semi-final, in just their sixth season of UEFA competition. The 2021/22 campaign is also the club’s longest in Europe; this is their 14th match.
• The quarter-final victory in Eindhoven was just the sixth for Leicester in their 19 away fixtures in UEFA competition (D3 L10) and only their second European win outside England during the spring (D1 L3), the first having come in February at Randers in the knockout round play-off. Leicester have scored in all of their last five European away games – 12 goals in total – having failed to register in any of the previous three.
• The Foxes have lost both previous UEFA ties in which they drew 1-1 at home in the first leg – against Atlético de Madrid in the 1961/62 European Cup Winners’ Cup second round (0-2 a) and Crvena zvezda in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup first round (1-3 a) – but in the only other tie in which they were held at home in the first leg, against PSV in this season’s quarter-finals, they emerged triumphant.
Links and trivia
• 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 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 have appeared 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 2016/17 Premier League.
• Roma boss Mourinho has considerable experience of English football, having been in charge of 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 a youth and reserve team coach at Chelsea during Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge.
• Mourinho was unbeaten in his first five Premier League meetings with Rodgers (W4 D1), the first four of them for Chelsea against Liverpool, including a famous 2-0 win at Anfield eight years ago, but lost the most recent before the first leg of this tie, when Leicester won 2-0 at Tottenham on 20 December 2020 with Jamie Vardy on the scoresheet.
• Mourinho’s only other defeat in ten Premier League games against Leicester (W7 D1) was a 2-1 away loss as Chelsea boss on 14 December 2015 – a result that prompted his dismissal three days later. His next match against Leicester, his first as Manchester United manager, brought a 2-1 win at Wembley in the FA Community Shield the following August. Vardy scored for Leicester in both games.
• Leicester’s Timothy Castagne played in Italy for Atalanta between 2017 and 2020. He registered in both Serie A games against Roma during 2018/19, two 3-3 draws, making the Rome club the only one he has scored more than one goal against in his professional career.
Roma defender Roger Ibañez was a team-mate of Castagne at Atalanta in 2018/19, though he only made one appearance for the Bergamo club.
• Roma’s Sérgio Oliveira and Leicester’s Ricardo played together for Porto in 2017/18 and are both Portuguese internationals along with Rui Patrício.
• Felix Afena-Gyan (Roma) and Daniel Amartey (Leicester) started together in both legs of Ghana’s recent 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off success against Nigeria.
• Although Roma were Inter-Cities Fairs Cup winners in 1961, they have never won a UEFA club competition, losing two finals – the 1984 European Cup on penalties to Liverpool after a 1-1 draw in Rome, and the 1991 UEFA Cup over two legs to Serie A rivals Inter (0-2 a, 1-0 h).
• Neither Roma nor Leicester have won a game since the second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-final. Roma were held 0-0 at home by Bologna in Serie A on Sunday to make it four matches in all competitions without a victory, while Leicester’s winless sequence on all fronts stretched to five games as they fell to a 3-1 defeat in the Premier League at Tottenham Hotspur, ending a run of three successive draws.
• Roma’s record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L3:
4-2 in 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 feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.