Sevilla – AS Roma: Dominant Sevilla Lay Down Europa League Marker (2-0)
From minute one it was pure dominance from Sevilla, whose heavy pressing, wing-based attack and passive possession style was far too much for a fledgling Roma. Julen Lopetegui’s side looked determined to set a standard in a competition they have enjoyed a great deal of success in throughout the years.
Tactical analysis and match report by K.T. Stockwell.
A fourth place finish in LaLiga and the guarantee of Champions League football next season was considered a resounding success for Sevilla in Julen Lopetegui’s first season in charge at the club. However, the Andalusian side’s Europa League form has often left something to the imagination – edging past CFR Cluj in the first knockout round with a 1-1 win on away goals.
Lined up in their usual 4-3-3 formation, Lopetegui went with a now familiar starting eleven: fielding Youssef En-Nesyri as the striker, flanked by January arrival Suso and the club’s leading goal-scorer, Lucas Ocampos. At the back the splendid duo of Diego Carlos and Jules Koundé were given the nod as central defenders.
Seventy points and qualification for another season of European football represented a successful year for Roma in a highly competitive edition of the Serie A. Eight matches without a loss had manager Paulo Fonseca’s side brimming with confidence ahead of their fixture with Sevilla.
The Portuguese manager elected to go with a 3-4-2-1 formation against the Spanish side, but was without the reliable hand of Chris Smalling center-back – the Englishman forced to return to Manchester United as his loan cruelly expired mid-tournament. Therefore, the task of containing the Sevilla frontline was left to the trio of Aleksander Kolarov, Roger . . .