The inaugural season of the Europa Conference League is reaching the business end with just four teams left in the running to be the competition’s first-ever winner.
Leicester vs Roma is an intriguing semifinal matchup that will see the managers of both sides renew a friendly rivalry. Brendan Rodgers and Jose Mourinho were at Chelsea together during Mourinho’s first tenure with the club and the two have remained close ever since.
There will be no love lost when their respective sides meet this Thursday.
Leicester have had an incredible amount of injuries and as a result, have dropped down the Premier League table having competed for Champions League football in the last two seasons.
Roma have had a great 2022 and look set for a top six finish. Mourinho’s side are currently 5th in the Serie A table and could mathematically still finish inside Serie A’s top 4. It remains to be seen after yet another turbulent season for Mourinho if he will still be in charge of the Italian club next year.
Leicester vs Roma: Everything you need to know
The match will be played over two legs with the first leg taking place at Leicester’s King Power Stadium on the 28th April. Kickoff is at 20:00 GMT.
Neither Leicester or Roma have won a European competition before and the Conference League will enable both teams the opportunity to create some history.
On paper, this looks an even match up and is a hard tie to predict.
Leicester for the first time this season are starting to have a reduced injury list and were able to welcome back talisman Jamie Vardy to their squad for their 0-0 draw against Aston Villa. Leicester have massively missed Vardy’s goals and movement. The Foxes will be hoping that despite missing several months of action Vardy can rediscover his goalscoring touch quickly.
For Roma life under Jose Mourinho has been eventful. The Portuguese who is arguably fighting to retain his legacy after a tough time of things in recent seasons has steadied the club and a return to Serie A’s top 6 looks well within reach.
Mourinho who specialises in trophies has the chance to win yet another honour and create history for Roma with success in the Conference League.
Tammy Abraham who Mourinho was desperate to sign from Chelsea has adapted to life in Italy well. The frontman is currently 5th in the Italian goalscoring charts having scored 15 goals. Abraham is on the periphery of the England side and knows that a good performance against Leicester could see him force his way into the England squad ahead of the upcoming World Cup.
In what could be a tight game, expect Leicester to do their best to have a lead ahead of the second leg in Rome. Mourinho will let Leicester have the ball and try to catch Leicester on the counter. Look for Roma to stifle the game ahead of next week’s second leg which they will be playing in front of their own fans.
The Europa Conference League Final
The winner of this two-legged tie will face either Feyenoord or Marseille in the inaugural final at the Arena Kombetare in Tirana, Albania on 25 May 2022. All four Europa Conference League semi-finalists have had a great run in the competition and whoever wins it all next month will look back at a successful European campaign and valuable experience for next season.
For Leicester, a tournament win sees them enter the Europa League next season. Roma are likely to qualify with their league position but another European trophy for Jose Mourinho won’t go remiss (as well as him becoming the only manager to win all European trophies). Marseille are good for Champions League qualification via the league but a trophy will cap off a resurgent season, while Feyenoord also have the incentive of starting in the Europa League group stages if they win it outright.