Europa League Final Prediction: Greg Lea previews Wednesday’s match between Sevilla and Roma
31 May 2023
Sevilla are striving to win their seventh Europa League in Wednesday’s final against Roma, who will hope Jose Mourinho can mastermind another famous victory in a continental competition.
The Spanish side have won this tournament on a record six occasions in the past - their closest pursuers (Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid) have just three wins apiece. Their squad has notably changed since their most recent triumph in 2020, but the current members will still draw strength from the club’s track record in the competition.
Sevilla began the campaign in the Champions League, but a third-place finish behind Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund in the group phase saw them drop into the Europa League.
For a while the competition took a back seat as Sevilla focused on pulling clear of the LaLiga relegation zone. Once demotion was no longer a realistic threat, Jose Luis Mendilibar’s men turned their attention to Europe and eliminated Manchester United 5-2 on aggregate in the last eight, before edging out Juventus 3-2 over two legs in the semis.
Sevilla have not won any of their last three matches in the league, but that does not mean they have gone off the boil. Wednesday’s showdown at the Puskas Arena in Budapest will define their season, so it is only natural that the league is no longer the priority.
Roma won the inaugural edition of the Europa Conference League in 2021/22 and they are now looking to go one better on the European stage. After finishing second to Real Betis in the group phase, Roma beat Red Bull Salzburg in the knockout round play-offs to reach the round of 16.
There they dispatched Real Sociedad 2-0, before overcoming Feyenoord 4-2 to set up a semi-final against Bayer Leverkusen. After a 1-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico, an old-school Mourinho masterclass led to a goalless draw in Germany which sent the Giallorossi through to this week’s showpiece event.
We may well see similar tactics in the final. In big games like this Mourinho is content to concede possession and look to frustrate the other team. Roma’s backline will not give much away, so Sevilla will have to work hard to break them down.
Mendilibar’s team have plenty of firepower within the ranks, not least in the form of star striker Youssef En-Nesyri, but it is notable that none of their seven away games in European competition this term have produced a victory. Sevilla sometimes struggle to impose themselves on matches held away from the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.
The longer the game stays at 0-0, the happier Roma will be. They are slight underdogs according to the traders and that will suit Mourinho down to the ground. The Portuguese has won all five of the European finals he has contested up to now, a run that stretches all the way back to Porto’s victory over Celtic in this competition in 2002/03.
These two teams are evenly matched but Mourinho’s experience and nous gives Roma the slight edge.
Europa League Final Prediction
Roma to lift the trophy @ 1.99
31 May 2023