Europa Conference League recap: Leicester loses as Mourinho’s Roma progress to final against Feyenoord

Tammy Abraham broke Leicester’s heart as Roma reached the Europa Conference League final.

he striker’s 27th goal of the season sealed a 1-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico and set up a showdown with Feyenoord in Tirana.

Jose Mourinho’s side led 2-1 on aggregate after last week’s semi-final first leg at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes fell short in their first European semi-final and there will be an enduring sense of regret that they failed to seriously harass Roma and never did justice to themselves.

The club have been tearing up the rule book after winning the Premier League and FA Cup for the past six years, but this season European success has been just out of reach.

Roma have not won European competition for 50 years since beating Blackpool in the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1972, but Mourinho will now look to complete the set following his past Champions League and Europa League victories.

Home fans had started hurling flares at Leicester supporters well before kick-off at the hostile Stadio Olimpico as the hosts looked to reach their first European final since 1991 when they lost the UEFA Cup to Inter Milan.

A banner ahead of the game read ‘Everyone in Britain fears the name of the Romans’ and Roma’s determination was evident.

Leicester had early protests over an ignored penalty when Chris Smalling brought down Wesley Fofana, but the starved hosts quickly took charge to elevate a winner in the 11th minute.

Kasper Schmeichel had already saved Lorenzo Pellegrini’s cute free-kick as Roma forced a series of corners and Leicester conceded again from a set piece.

Pellegrini’s dangerous delivery was answered by Abraham and he leapfrogged Ricardo Pereira to put a superb header past Schmeichel from seven metres.

It was the striker’s ninth goal of the season in this competition – with Alan Shearer and Stan Bowles the only Englishmen to score more goals in a single European season.

Leicester were shocked and pulled out and Pellegrini, scorer of Roma’s first-leg goal, was a constant threat as Jonny Evans cleaned up after another Schmeichel try.

Roma were in control after overtaking the Foxes with muscle and maneuver and kept the visitors at bay even when they had brief streaks of possession.

Boss Brendan Rodgers had talked about using the 72,000 sell-out crowd to Leicester’s advantage, hoping to play on nerves and fear with Roma so close to the end of a 14-year trophy drought.

But his slow side could never find sustained momentum to even get under the hosts’ skin on the pitch.

Frustration grew at inconsistent referee Srdjan Jovanovic, but the Foxes’ first-half performance justified nothing other than going behind.

Rodgers rolled the dice at the break, with the ineffective Ademola Lookman and Harvey Barnes being replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho and Daniel Amartey.

A double substitution at the break helped the Foxes come from a deficit in the second leg and beat PSV in last month’s quarter-finals. They were more resilient straight away, but still lacked the imagination to even the tie.

Jamie Vardy had blocked a shot from Abraham and the Foxes saw more of the ball when James Maddison rolled in on Rui Patricio with 13 minutes left.

But a cautious second half suited Roma and although they created little themselves, they were always comfortable.

Iheanacho shot Patricio from afar as the time passed, but this time there was no fairytale ending for the foxes.

Meanwhile, Feyenoord held off Marseille at the Stade Velodrome to secure a 0-0 draw and reach the final in Tirana, Albania on 25 May. Europa Conference League recap: Leicester loses as Mourinho’s Roma progress to final against Feyenoord

Fry Electronics Team

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