UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final first legs: What to look out for
Thursday, 28 April 2022
Two former colleagues turned managerial foes prepare to face each other again while one hotshot hopes to eliminate his former holiday destination as part of a tantalising UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final line-up.
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As the race to be the historic first winners of the UEFA Europa Conference League nears its conclusion, there are two reunions in the offing as we reach the semi-final stage.
Presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, we focus on the key stories.
Semi-final first legs
Leicester vs Roma
Feyenoord vs Marseille
Matches kick off at 21:00 CEST on 28 April; second legs take place on 5 May.
The apprentice faces the master
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was appointed to a role in Chelsea's academy during José Mourinho's first spell in charge of the Londoners, and with the English side preparing to take on Roma, the pair are set to renew touchline rivalries with the Portuguese having had the better of it over the past eight years.
The duo first met in a managerial capacity during Mourinho's second spell with the Blues and Rodgers' time at Liverpool and the Northern Irishman has managed just one victory in his eight meetings against the teams managed by the 'Special One' – including an aggregate defeat in the 2014/15 League Cup semi-finals as Mourinho and Chelsea went on to lift the trophy.
However, the Leicester boss might be buoyed by the fact that he finally managed to get the better of his old mentor in the last encounter between the two bosses, the Foxes' 2-0 Premier League success at Mourinho's Tottenham in December 2020.
Dessers aims for more Marseille joy
Feyenoord talisman Cyriel Dessers goes in search of more goals to ensure he finishes ahead of Roma's Tammy Abraham as the competition’s top scorer with the pair tied on eight apiece.
The Nigerian international has struck in six of his last seven outings in this competition, and comes up against a team from a region he knows well having travelled to Marseille as a youngster with his parents, even spending time to explore the stadium while in the city.
Speaking after his side's 3-1 second-leg success against Slavia Praha in the quarter-finals, the free-scoring striker spoke of his joy at facing the 1993 UEFA Champions League winners in the last four: "Now I am going to see [Marseille's stadium] from the inside. Hopefully we can play well there and I can score – that would be a very nice experience!"
When and where is the Europa Conference League final?
This season's final takes place at the National Arena in Tirana. The game will kick off at 21:00 CET on Wednesday 25 May.