Leicester City and Roma will begin their fight for a place in the Europa Conference League final on Thursday, with the first leg taking place at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes overturned a late deficit to get past PSV Eindhoven in the quarter-finals, while a rampant second-leg display saw the Italian side dump out Bodo/Glimt.
Brendan Rodgers admitted he didn’t even know what the UECL was when his side dropped into the competition after finishing third in their Europa League group. So far though, his side has excelled in the fledgling tournament. They smashed Randers 7-2 over two legs in the last 32 before edging past Rennes 3-2 on aggregate.
Form Guide: Roma
Mourinho never takes any competition lightly and alongside two Champions League triumphs and domestic titles in Portugal, England, Italy, and Spain there have been numerous other cup victories. He won Europe’s second-tier tournament with Porto and Manchester United and would no doubt love to lift this trophy in its inaugural staging.
Roma did suffer a blip when thrashed 6-1 at Bodo/Glimt during the group stage but four wins and a draw saw them safely through.
In the round of 16, they edged past Vitesse Arnhem of Holland before again finding a trip to Norway tricky in the quarter-finals. However, having gone down 2-1 at Bodo/Glimt this time, the Giallorossi had the last laugh with a 4-0 romp at Stadio Olimpico. Sunday’s 3-1 defeat away to Inter Milan was their first loss in 13 Serie A outings and Roma is a healthy fifth in Italy’s top flight.
Form Guide: Leicester
Leicester are down in mid-table in the Premier League and could only finish third in their Europa League group behind Spartak Moscow and Napoli. This may have been seen as a consolation prize, but City can’t be faulted for effort in making the last four.
They crushed Randers of Denmark 7-2 on aggregate before just shading French side Rennes 3-2 and Holland’s PSV 2-1 in tight tussles.
Since a memorable late rally in Eindhoven, the Foxes have struggled domestically, losing to Newcastle and only drawing with lowly Everton and Aston Villa. One bonus has been the return from injury of Jamie Vardy, although Rodgers was guarded over whether his star striker will be ready for Leicester’s first European semi.
How the game could go
This game certainly has the potential to produce goals at both ends of the pitch. Both teams have scored in four of the host’s last five matches in all competitions while the same can be said for four of Roma’s last five outings.
Brendan Rodgers’ hosts have failed to shut out their opponents in a hefty 26 of their 32 Premier League games this season, not to mention their backline has been breached in 10 of their 12 continental clashes thus far.
Leicester have drawn three of their last six matches in all competitions and while their last two stalemates in the Premier League might have been down to the fact that they had one eye on the Roma game, good form is vital ahead of European games and the Foxes have only won two of their last six outings. Roma has only lost two of their last six matches and would be happy to take a draw from their trip to Leicester knowing that they will have the home advantage in next week’s 2nd-leg. Bet9ja have 3.30, 1xbet have 3.36 and Paripesa have 3.36 odds.
Both teams to score (YES)
This game certainly has the potential to produce goals at both ends of the pitch. Both teams have scored in four of the host’s last five matches in all competitions while the same can be said for four of Roma’s last five outings, so you can see why we’re not backing either side to keep their clean sheet intact this Thursday. Brendan Rodgers’ hosts have failed to shut out their opponents in a hefty 26 of their 32 Premier League games this season, not to mention their backline has been breached in 10 of their 12 continental clashes thus far. Bet9ja have 1.78 odds, Paripesa have 1.81 and 1xbet have 1.81 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Roma)
The former Chelsea forward, who has enjoyed a memorable first season in the Italian capital, is currently the joint top scorer in the Europa Conference League with eight goals, and he is a tempting play to add to that tally against a Leicester team that is not exactly renowned for being watertight. Bet9ja have 3.25 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.64.
He would be a wonderful addition to the frontline if included here as he has scored five goals in this competition and he seems to have found scoring for Roma here quite easy. He is a doubt to start but no repairs have outrightly ruled him out which means he could replicate his hattrick stunt against Glimt here today. Bet9ja have 4.10 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 4.34.
Anytime Goalscorer (Leicester)
The young Nigerian has had quite an impressive in Leicester colors with his important goals in the absence of Jamie Vardy. We have him to try and put Leicester ahead in this important tie as he would be put in the starting lineup here today. Yet to open his account, this might just be the time. Bet9ja have 4.00 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 4.30.
James Maddison has had a stellar season in midfield and he seems to be enjoying every single bit of it. He has scored for Leicester in all of the competitions they have played in and he is the highest scorer for his side in this competition. He has proven to be a goal provider and scorer for the team this season and he is the one most likely to find the back of the net here tonight. Bet9ja have 3.60 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 4.10.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.