Europa League Semi-Final Predictions: Sevilla can outperform Juventus once again
17 May 2023
The Europa League semi-finals will reach a conclusion on Thursday with crunch clashes in Germany and Spain. Here is how football expert Greg Lea envisages the action unfolding.
Bayer Leverkusen v Roma
Kick-off: 8pm Thursday
Edoardo Bove’s strike shortly after the hour mark of the first leg means Roma have a 1-0 aggregate advantage to take to Leverkusen. Whether that is enough for Jose Mourinho’s men to advance to the final remains to be seen as both teams must believe they can make it through.
Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen side created plenty of chances at the Stadio Olimpico and they came close to a late equaliser through Jeremie Frimpong. But Roma could point to missed opportunities too, and the fact they were more clinical than their opponents was ultimately the decisive factor.
After a 1-1 draw with Stuttgart at the weekend, Leverkusen have now gone four matches without a win in all competitions. They have also lost five of their last eight games at the BayArena.
Roma’s recent form has been patchy, too. They have won just one of their last six outings - that victory over Leverkusen - and were also forced to split the points at the weekend after a 0-0 draw with Bologna.
That result means the Giallorossi will almost certainly miss out on a top-four finish in Serie A, which increases the pressure on them to win the Europa League. Having already failed to qualify for the Champions League via the Bundesliga, Leverkusen are in the same position.
All of this should make Thursday’s game a fascinating watch. Leverkusen will probably score on home turf, but I fancy Roma’s chances of nicking a goal on the counter-attack too. A clean sheet should elude both teams.
Prediction: Both teams to score @ 1.99
Sevilla v Juventus
Kick-off: 8pm Thursday
Juventus scored a last-gasp winner on Thursday to rescue a 1-1 draw against Sevilla in front of their own fans.
Federico Gatti’s header in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time could be looked back on as the key moment in this tie, but Sevilla still have the edge after Juventus failed to win at the Allianz Stadium.
Juve, in truth, were disappointing for much of that match and Sevilla must regret the fact they did not add a second to take the game away from their Italian opponents. On the balance of play, the home team were extremely fortunate to avoid defeat.
Sevilla will instead attempt to repeat the trick they pulled off against Manchester United in the quarter-finals. After drawing the first leg away from home, Jose Luis Mendilibar’s men made a quick start at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and deservedly took the lead through Youssef En-Nesyri in the eighth minute. Sevilla eventually won 3-0.
That final result was in part down to some poor errors from the Premier League team, but they were forced into those mistakes by Sevilla’s energy and intensity. Juventus would struggle to cope with the Spanish side in that type of form.
With six Europa League titles to their name, Sevilla are the most successful side in the history of this tournament and the current team will draw confidence from that record.
Maybe that will be a factor on Thursday. Juventus are a cautious team and they will aim to frustrate Sevilla in the first half before capitalising after the break. But if Mendilibar’s side can operate at full pelt, they will have too much for Juve to handle.
Prediction: Sevilla to win @ 2.48
Europa League Semi-Final Predictions
Bayer Leverkusen v Roma: Both teams to score @ 1.99
Sevilla v Juventus: Sevilla to win @ 2.48
17 May 2023