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19 Apr 2023 / admin

Soccer Europa League - Play-Offs Prediction

AS Roma vs Feyenoord - Match Preview

⚽ 20 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0

A 3-0 win over Udinese at the weekend has edged Roma ever closer to Europe’s top-tier competition next season and served as a perfect confidence booster after losing the first leg of this UEFA Europa League (UEL) quarter-final tie 1-0. Overcoming a deficit certainly isn’t beyond José Mourinho’s men, who lost 1-0 away to Salzburg before posting a 2-0 home win earlier in the competition.

Returning to the Stadio Olimpico should provide a boost for Roma after their incredible seven victories without reply across their last eight competitive games here in the capital. However, Giallorossi’s eight-game unbeaten run against Dutch opponents ended in the first leg (W4, D4, L1) and each of the home games in that sequence ended level.

Eredivisie league leaders Feyenoord took another step towards ending their five-year wait for a domestic league title with a resounding 3-0 win at Cambuur. Another gruelling away trip awaits them as they travel to Italy, though the UEL top-scorers (G22) will be boosted by the news of the likely absence of Roma’s prolific duo of Paulo Dybala and Tammy Abraham.

Further boosting confidence will be Feyenoord’s incredibly strong travelling form that has seen them lose only once in competitive away games since the beginning of October 2022 (W9, D5, L1). Even so, the European results during that sequence don’t make good reading (D2, L1) as the Rotterdam outfit now seek to end a rotten 14-game winless run of UEL proper winless away games (D6, L8)!

📋 Players to watch: Roma’s born Rotterdammer Georginio Wijnaldum faces his hometown club for the tenth time here and whilst he’s made just two goal contributions against his former side, he’s never played out a stalemate against them (W4, L5). Oussama Idrissi could prove to be the catalyst for Feyenoord after assisting in each of his last three games; he’s also scored three and created as many in this season’s UEL.

Hot stat: Roma have progressed from every one of their five European knockout ties against Dutch opponents.

Royale Union SG vs Bayer Leverkusen - Match Preview

⚽ 20 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0

Manager Karel Geraerts believes his Royale Union Saint-Gilloise has shown the standards they need to hit in order to reach the last four of a European competition for the first time since 1960. The Belgian outfit drew 1-1 in Germany in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League (UEL) quarter-final against Bayer Leverkusen, with the boss admitting “we will have to display the same mentality” to have any chance of progressing.

It would be a huge upset if ‘Les Unionistes’ were to win, but they head into the tie with plenty of confidence after extending an unbeaten run to nine matches by beating Seraing 2-1 at the weekend (W6, D3). They have also proved a formidable opponent at Joseph Marien Stadium, where 12 of their last 13 outings have ended in victory (L1), netting a whopping 30 goals in the process!

That record would strike fear into most teams, but Leverkusen fans of a certain age may be aware that their side has never previously lost to Belgian opposition in European competition (W3, D2). On top of that, Die Werkself make the journey west looking to extend a run of 11 games without defeat (W8, D3), including UEL victories against Monaco and Ferencváros.

The former of those wins bodes well for Xabi Alonso’s side, as it was the first time in their UEL history that they managed to progress to the next round despite failing to win the first leg at home. The manager will be hoping for more of the same from his side, although he is taking nothing for granted, insisting “everything is very open” after a tight opening leg.

📋 Key battle: Royal Union SG striker Victor Boniface is unbeaten in his six goalscoring appearances in the UEL (W3, D3), with both teams scoring in each of those matches. He may be trying to outshine Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby, who has netted 11 times in just 25 UEL appearances.

Hot streak: None of Royale Union SG’s last 20 games in European football have ended 0-0.

Sevilla vs Manchester Utd - Match Preview

⚽ 20 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0

A pair of home clean sheets and wins against PSV Eindhoven (3-0) and Fenerbahçe (2-0) in the face of away losses got Sevilla to this quarter-final of the 2022/23 UEFA Europa League (UEL), so a 2-2 draw away to Manchester United in the first leg should have left them feeling positive for progression to their first UEL semi-finals since 2019/20, which ironically saw their last win against United!

Sevilla was assisted in the first leg by a pair of United own goals in the final ten minutes of the match but sharpened up with two second-half strikes of their own away to Valencia last weekend. They’ll now come into this game undefeated against United (W2, D2) and against all opponents under new manager José Luis Mendilibar (W2, D2). Given winning a record-extending seventh UEL title is likely their only path to European football next season, it was no surprise to see a much-changed lineup visit Valencia at the weekend.

United enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 league away win of their own at the weekend against Nottingham Forest and have seen seven of their last ten victories across all competitions accompanied by a 2+ goal margin, whilst it was an eighth straight game without a first-half goal conceded. Assuming the defensive mistakes and subsequent own goals in the first leg were an aberration, they can be confident another strong start will this time be duly rewarded.

The 2020/21 UEL finalists remain undefeated in European competition since an opening matchday home loss to Real Sociedad (W8, D2), which includes a remarkable three trips to Spain (W2, D1) in the space of fewer than six months. They, therefore, have every right to be confident of returning home as semi-finalists, especially not having lost any of their last seven UEFA contests on Spanish soil (W5, D2).

📋 Players to watch: Youssef En-Nesyri recorded Sevilla’s opening goal in three separate UEFA home fixtures this season as well as their most recent home league outing. United midfielder Christian Eriksen will be determined to get some personal revenge on Sevilla after playing for Inter Milan in their 2019/20 UEL final loss to Sevilla, and with his last 23 goalscoring club appearances seeing his side on the day avoid defeat (W18, D5), United will hope he can get on the scoresheet.

Hot stat: All but two of Sevilla’s last 15 competitive wins were accompanied by a clean sheet.

Sporting CP vs Juventus - Match Preview

⚽ 20 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0

Sporting Lisbon lost 1-0 in their first leg of the UEFA Europa League (UEL) quarter-finals, where the breathing difficulties of Juventus ‘keeper Wojciech Szczęsny grabbed the headlines. This tie is far from over as the discontinuation of the away goals rule gives the hosts a chance to reach the UEL semis for only the second time ever, with coach Rúben Amorim reassuring fans that “the margin is so slim and we must have faith” after the loss in Turin.

A much-changed Sporting side drew 1-1 in their league match with Arouca on Sunday, losing ground on European qualification which makes the progression from this tie vital. Yet, with the Lions have failed to win at Estádio José Alvalade across their last four European home matches (D2, L2) and having lost each of the last six two-legged ties with Italian clubs, home fans may not be bullish.

Juventus also lost ground in their push for the European spots after falling 1-0 to Sassuolo on Sunday ahead of a troika of key matches in three different competitions (UEL, Serie A and Coppa Italia) that could decide where their season is heading. They should be confident after the first-leg win made it four consecutive European victories with a clean sheet for the first time since the 2016/17 Champions League campaign, but coach Massimiliano Allegri identified “a few mistakes” and some areas where “the lads can improve” following that leg.

The Old Lady needs those improvements to stabilise their away form that has landed three losses across five competitive trips (W2) including two in a row. Four of those results have come by a single-goal margin, which means another tight game can’t be ruled out.

📋 Players to watch: Sporting manager Amorim refused to blame his ‘keeper Antonio Adán for the first leg defeat but the result made it five goals conceded from two H2Hs for Adán. He could once again be tested by Dušan Vlahović, whose last two UEL goal involvements (G1, A1) have come in away Juve wins.

Hot stat: Juventus have scored first in nine of their last 12 away UEL games, going on to win seven.

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