Football Features

Sumptuous Sevilla scorch Roma and state their case to win the Europa League

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:06, 6 August 2020

In a one-sided evening of football, Sevilla scorched Roma in the Europa League, winning 2-0 in Duisburg.

The result, a one-off tie played in place of the cancelled round of 16, sends Sevilla into the quarter-finals where they will face either Wolves or Olympiakos. The win will be welcomed back in Spain and, in truth, it was such one-sided domination that they almost needn’t have bothered playing at all and just put Sevilla straight into the quarters.

Julen Lopetegui’s men finished La Liga in fine form, securing a Champions League spot for next season – so their adventures in this season’s Europa League are solely for the cause of glory. A bid to remind everyone of their quality by reclaiming “their” trophy.

Recall that in the mid-2000’s, Sevilla won the then-UEFA Cup back-to-back. And then about a decade later they won the Europea League three years straight under Unai Emery. They are the record holders and in a competitive field lacking any truly elite side, will fancy their chances of going all the way.

Especially if they can replicate their display against Roma in the latter rounds. Sevilla were quite simply too much for the Giallorossi in all phases of play. At the back Diego Carlos and Jules Koundé continued their excellent season by utterly dominating the Roma attack.

Yassine Bounou in the Sevilla goal had barely anything to do thanks to the sterling efforts of his defenders – Roma managed just one solitary shot on target in the entire game. Both full-backs put a shift in out wide, defending their flanks superbly.

Sergio Reguilon in particular consistently raid forward and often found himself the furthest player forward making the key final third passes. Despite making a joint-team-high 3 clearances, the left-back even opened the scoring after a surging run into the box was topped with a neat low finish. Alright Pau Torres should have done better in the Roma goal, but the fact that Sevilla’s left-back was willing and able to make such a run exemplified the difference in levels between both sides.

Reguilon has recently been linked with a big money move to Chelsea and on this evidence you can see why Frank Lampard would want the Spaniard. A ferocious defender as well as a willing and capable attacker? He would fit in superbly in that Chelsea team and form a devastating two-way full-back tandem with Reece James. Chelsea fans seem enthused by his performance.

In midfield Ever Banega ran the show. The 32-year-old is rumoured to be leaving Sevilla at the end of this current, and if so he seems determined to go out on a high by winning his third Europa League (he was playing in Argentina for the first of Sevilla’s hat-trick of recent wins). The Argentine had more touches, duels, passes and passes in the opponents half than anyone else on the field. He was resplendent.

In attack Lucas Ocampos and Youssef En-Nesyri added the cutting edge that Sevilla have often lacked in La Liga this season. The Spanish side have often looked superbly set up by Julen Lopetegui and have been superb between the boxes only to be let down by their play in the sharp-end. Today they found that sharpness, first from Reguilon but the second goal was a sumptuous counter-attack that saw Banega feed Ocampos down the right. The Argentine hurdled a challenge before calmly looking up and squaring for En-Nesyri to tap home.

They dominated on the ball, and off it they pressed ferociously to prevent Roma from ever generating any sort of momentum. The result was domination from start to finish, Roma never stood a chance and the fact that the scoreline remained 2-0 was a blessing for the Italian side (Koundé and Banega both hit the bar).

This result should send shockwaves throughout the rest of the quarter-finalists, because whilst Sevilla don’t have anything like the talent that Manchester United and Inter Milan do, they are coached superbly. Julen Lopetegui has worked his magic on the side and we are now seeing why he was so good with Spain and why Real Madrid wanted him so badly they were willing to ruin the nation’s World Cup.

Sevilla can press, pass and power through teams on the counter-attack. They are strong at the back, savvy in midfield and are now serious business in attack. They have stated their case to win the 2019/20 Europa League and based on the way they ripped Roma to bits, it’s a strong case you’d struggle to argue against. This is a team that can do it all, as Wolves may find out to their peril if they manage to get by Olympiakos.

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