Leicester hold Roma as Feyenoord edge Marseille in semi-final
Gianluca Mancini’s second-half own goal saw Leicester City draw 1-1 with Jose Mourinho’s Roma in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final.
Leicester City players celebrate after scoring the equalizer against Roma. PA
Gianluca Mancini’s second-half own goal saw Leicester City draw 1-1 with Jose Mourinho’s Roma in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final on Thursday, while Feyenoord got the better of Marseille in a five-goal thriller.
Mancini got the finishing touch midway through the second half as he tried to stop Ademola Lookman from converting a low ball driven into the penalty area by Harvey Barnes.
It took Leicester level in their first-ever European semi-final after Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Roma an early lead at the King Power Stadium.
The draw, which pits Mourinho against Brendan Rodgers, his former protege in the Chelsea coaching staff, is now set ahead of next week’s return to Italy.
“I think we played really well, really dominated the game and I’m very happy with the performance,” Rodgers told broadcaster BT Sport.
Mourinho is hoping to add Europe’s new third-tier trophy to his collection after winning two Champions Leagues, a UEFA Cup and a Europa League during his managerial career, and Roma couldn’t have asked for a better start .
They took the lead on the quarter-minute when Nicola Zalewski collected the ball on the left and moved forward before playing into captain Pellegrini to fire low past Kasper Schmeichel into the Leicester goal.
Last season’s FA Cup winners, who joined the Conference League after being knocked out of the Europa League in the group stage, were then dealt a blow when Timothy Castagne was sent off midway through the first half .
Lookman tested goalkeeper Rui Patricio from range just after the half-hour mark, but it was Barnes’ second-half introduction that proved crucial in getting the Premier League side back on track.
Barnes replaced Marc Albrighton at the same time Kelechi Iheanacho was sent off for Jamie Vardy, with the veteran striker making his first start since early March following his latest injury setback.
It was Barnes who entered the box before firing a low ball from the left side of the box towards Nigerian international Lookman. Italian international defender Mancini ended up helping the ball over the line to make it 1-1.
Rui Patricio then swung a shot from Iheanacho around the post and Leicester – whose former striker Gary Lineker was watching from the stands – will have to find a way to win in Rome if they are to reach the final in the Albanian capital Tirana in the end of next month.
“We faced an opponent with a different culture, a different intensity and taking everything to Rome is good for us,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s good to go home with this result. Let’s go for the final. I’m not talking about the final in Tirana, but the ‘final’ in Rome. “
Feyenoord double burner desserts
Feyenoord beat Marseille 3-2 in Rotterdam, losing a two-goal lead before being gifted what turned out to be the winner on the night early in the second half.
Colombia striker Luis Sinisterra left the ball for Cyriel Dessers to open the scoring for the Dutch in the 18th minute, and Sinisterra doubled their lead two minutes later, sweeping home an assist from Reiss Nelson with his deflected shot on Valentin Ronnier.
In a remarkable game between two former European Cup winners, Marseille pulled a goal back in the 28th minute when Cédric Bakambu kicked a ball into Bamba Dieng’s path and the Senegal striker smashed a shot just wide. outside the surface.
The French visitors were level five minutes before half-time when Matteo Guendouzi’s low cross into the box from the right was deflected by Feyenoord keeper Ofir Marciano and Brazilian midfielder Gerson came on to crush the loose ball .
Yet, in a noisy atmosphere at De Kuip, Feyenoord were back in the lead just 11 seconds into the second half as Duje Caleta-Car’s short back pass was intercepted by Dessers and the Nigerian-born international Belgian seized the opportunity.
Marseille must now make up the deficit when the teams meet at the Velodrome next Thursday.
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