Jose Mourinho’s Conference League-winning Roma journey to the Finnish capital on Thursday night with their chances of qualifying for the Europa League knockouts hanging in the balance. As it stands, the Eternal City club are third in the Group C table and currently three points behind second-placed Ludogorets.
After four matchdays in 2022/23, Mourinho has managed to oversee just the single win, which came in the reverse fixture against HJK Helsinki. The Giallorossi executed a convincing 3-0 victory last month at the Stadio Olimpico, but defeats to Real Betis and Ludogorets, and a further draw with the former has seriously blunted their hopes of reaching the latter stages.
Helsinki would have been determined to make a splash in the groups and not just be there to make up the numbers. But, so far, Klubi‘s second-ever appearance in the Europa League group stages hasn’t gone according to plan. Toni Koskela’s men have suffered three defeats and picked up just the single draw against Ludogorets.
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HJK Helsinki v Roma match stats
Given the importance of this game for Roma’s hopes of qualification, Mourinho is unlikely to put out a weakened side, so expect a strong line-up. That will see Chris Smalling stationed at the back and given the job of marshalling Mourinho’s backline, a player he recently urged Gareth Southgate to recall to England. The seasoned centre-back will be dangerous from set-pieces in Finland; he has scored six headed goals in Serie A since joining Roma, more than any other player currently at the club.
15 Sep 2022 – Roma 3-0 HJK Helsinki – Europa League
Paulo Dybala, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Andrea Belotti were on the scoresheet in the reverse fixture after Helsinki’s Miro Tenho was sent off 14 minutes into the contest. Roma’s only other visit to Finland came in the 1991-92 Cup Winners’ Cup, drawing 1-1 with Ilves.
Find the latest Europa League winner odds for the 2022/2023 season here:
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