Europa League Final Preview – Sevilla v Roma

Broadcaster Kieran Burke previews the first of three European finals over the comings weeks, the UEFA Europa League decider between Sevilla and AS Roma.

Sevilla, the irresistible force of this competition meets the immmovable object of Jose Mourinho’s Roma in Wednesday’s Europa League Final in Budapest, Hungary. Sevilla have featured in a staggering six UEFA Cup/Europa League finals and have come away with the trophy on each and every occasion while the “Special One” will be bidding to deliver back-to-back European trophies to Roma who won their first ever continental crown when winning the inaugural Europa Conference League last season. In fact, Mourinho also puts an unbeaten record in European finals on the line in what is a heavyweight clash in Europe’s second-tier competition.

To add some extra spice to the mix, neither side has done enough domestically this season to qualify for the Champions League meaning this is the last possible route into Europe’s Premier competition for both clubs.

Jose Mourinho has admitted to effectively sacrificing any hope of a top four finish in Serie A in the final weeks of the season to focus all of his and his players energy on winning a first ever Europa League title while Sevilla were at one stage this season looking like possible relegation candidates. Despite a less than mediocre La Liga campaign, the boys from Andalusia are still very much to be feared in this competition.

Both Sevilla and A.S. Roma came through nail-biting two legged semi-final affairs with the Spaniards needing a goal late in the second half of extra-time to squeeze past Juventus while Roma delivered a trademark Mourinho inspired backs to the wall defensive display to see off Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 on aggregate.

There has only been one competitive encounter between these two clubs previously with Sevilla dumping Roma out of this competition in a one-legged knockout tie during the behind closed doors Covid era in 2020. Neither manager from that clash remains which means the approaches are likely to be very different. Many will expect Mourinho to try and spoil the game just as his team did in Germany in the semi-final second-leg and with the latest two finals in this tournament being settled by the dreaded penalty shootout, a tight encounter looks likely in the Hungarian capital.

Should the dual Champions League winning coach Mourinho guide his team to victory tomorrow night he will become the most decorated manager in European competitions and the Portuguese has already put strict measures in place to ensure he is on the right side of history. The former Chelsea boss has reportedly banned all bar essential staff from the Roma training ground as preparations for the final start to come to a head. This is something Mourinho is said to have implemented prior to Roma’s Conference League win against Feyenoord last season.

Sticking with Mourinho for the moment, it’s being reported this could be his last game in charge of “I Giallorossi” with PSG being touted as his possible next destination. Such rumours bring back memories of Mourinho’s treble winning season with Inter Milan with the “Special One” fighting back the tears as he embraced his Inter players one last time before a move to Real Madrid.

We’ve seen Mourinho in these situations so many times that it’s almost impossible to imagine him not walking out of the Puskás Aréna tomorrow night with another winners medal around his neck even with Sevilla’s unbeaten final record in mind.

Prediction: Roma to lift the trophy (10/11)

Bar One Racing is offering Double The Odds First Goalscorer on the Europa League final. Jose Mourinho has received some good news on the injuries front in the build up to the game with Paulo Dybala (4 goals in 10 in UEL) almost certain to be fit in time for Roma while defender Leonardo Spinazzola is also back in training.

Sevilla’s potential absentees list looks set to be significantly longer than their opponents with Marcao and Tanguy Nianzou both struggling with muscular issues while Marcos Acuna will miss the match because he is suspended. Acuna has been a key player for Sevilla this season, making 44 appearances in all competitions.

Youssef En-Nesyri is Sevilla’s top scorer this season with 14 goals while Dybala has netted 15 times for the Italian side with Tammy Abraham the teams joint second best scorer with 9.

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article