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Roma shot on goal once in 99 minutes. But Mourinho still reached the final

Date: March 4, 2024 Time: 04:56:34

Roma shot on goal once in 99 minutes. But Mourinho still reached the final

Nikita Paglazov May 19, 2023 00:30 UTC Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.

“Bus” José resisted Bayer’s attack.

Bayer Leverkusen and Roma have postponed the decision on the Europa League finalist until the second leg. In the first meeting at the Stadio Olimpico, the hosts achieved a minimal victory, but the German team did not show even half of its potential. The second leg in Leverkusen was expected with a completely different attitude. Bayer had no other option but to go on the attack and endlessly strain the Roman defense to play in the Europa League final.

Roma came out in an initial 3-5-2 combination, with the defense becoming 5-3-2. The main novelty in the Bayer squad is the appearance of Serdar Azmun at the base. The Iranian striker started the team’s last Bundesliga match against Stuttgart. The Bayer coach, Xabi Alonso, entrusted Azmoun with a place in the squad for the most important game in the Europa League.

The Aspirins did not change their basic 3-4-3 pattern, but they were much more active than in Rome. From the first minutes, Bayer took their place in the opposite field, placing five players at once in attack. The Wirtz-Azmun-Diaby troika was assisted by electric trains on the flanks: Jeremy Frimpong and Mitchel Bakker. Kerem Demirbay connected actively from midfield. It was the German midfielder who hit the most on goal in the first half: three attempts at the same time. At the beginning of the match, Bayer had possession of the ball for about 70% of the time, and Roma did not even think about attacks.

In general, everything is fine with José in Rome.

Mourinho found himself in Roma. The Portuguese are once again expected in elite clubs

Moussa Diaby created the first dangerous moment. In the 12th minute, he broke away from the goalkeeper, ran towards the Roma goal, after which he hit the crossbar. However, Bayer did not create anything more dangerous in the first half. Yes, Roma did not come up with anything at all in attack, but they dried up the game and killed time in the standard way. Despite Bayer’s overwhelming lead, the Leverkuseners mostly limited themselves to long-range shots and attempts to find Azmun’s head in someone else’s penalty area. Even the crafty Florian Wirtz couldn’t break Bayer’s low blocking and positional defense. The 20-year-old German sank into midfield, trying to find climbing options. But not entirely successful. In addition, Bayer had a clear emphasis on the right flank-semi-flank. It was in this area where much more activity was created. Unfortunately for Mourinho, Roma left-back Leonardo Spinazzola broke after 33 minutes. He was replaced by a young Nikola Zalewski. However, until the end of the 1st half, Bayer did not bother the Pole much. The guests also cleverly gained time before the break, avoiding dangerous moments at their gates.


Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images

The second half began with a change for Mourinho. The Portuguese strengthened the midfield: instead of striker Andrea Belotti, who did not bring any benefit, Jorginho Wijnaldum came out. The versatile Dutchman has saturated the midfield. When it came to defending, Roma were now 5-4-1 (Pellegrini periodically stepped up to help Abraham).

However, the pressure from the Romans is a weak point, which is why Bayern passed the first stage of the away defense almost without hindrance. But then I came across a parked Roman bus. Roma played for time at every opportunity. For example, at the beginning of the second half, Mourinho drew attention to the flares lit by Bayer fans – the referee Slavko Vincic had to briefly suspend the game. And it’s not worth blaming the guests: reaching the Europa League final is at stake.

The first 15 minutes of the second part passed without serious moments at the gates of Roma. There was a feeling that the guests managed to turn off the pressure of Bayer and the Romans would hold out until the final whistle. In defence, the Italians made radical decisions: from time to time, Roma were in their penalty area with ten men. Bayer returned to the tools of the first half: in the 67th minute, Demirbay fired another long shot on target. After that, Serdar Azmun fell into the penalty area, who was hooked by Gianluca Mancini. However, the referee did not record any violations. Note that the controversial situation arose with the Iranian in the first half, when he was fleeing from Brian Cristante. But even then the referee’s whistle was silent.

Serdar Azmoun (right)

Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Bayer tried to throw the ball into someone else’s penalty area. The attacking group players took over the match. For example, right-back Frimpong, like a rugby player, pushed his way into Roma’s penalty area. Dribbling and pressing are not the worst methods to open up a dead defence. The Romans, on the other hand, doubled their line: they defended, defended again, gained time and upset the rhythm of the hosts. Alonso made radical decisions: nominal right winger Bakker was replaced by attacking midfielder Amin Adli, forward Adam Gloszek replaced midfielder Exekiel Palacios.

In the 81st minute, Azmun missed a great scoring chance. He took advantage of the rebound, but shot from the penalty area just past Rui Patricio’s right post. The Iranian, unfortunately for the Bayer fans, did not take advantage of his best moment in the match. Frimpong wasted another chance in the 85th minute: he struck Patricio’s goal, but was blocked by the Roma defender, dampening the speed of the ball.

At the end of the meeting, Bayer desperately attacked, but the guests still resisted. The Roma bus reached the Europa League final.

The Romans throughout the match inflicted only one shot on goal (even in the first half), zero – on goal. Bayern have 23 shots (6 on target) The Italians scored just 0.03 xG (expected goals). But all this fades against the background of the fact that the legendary José Mourinho is on his way to the sixth European Cup. And the second in a row.

The Portuguese previously won the UEFA Cup/Europa League with Porto (2003) and Manchester United (2017), the Champions League with Porto (2004) and Inter (2010) and the Conference League with Roma (2022). Mourinho has the opportunity to repeat with the Romans the achievement he achieved in Portugal. Together with Porto, he won two European Cups in two years. Will it work with Rome? We’ll find out soon.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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