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Roma 1-0 Leicester (agg: 2-1): Abraham header takes Giallorossi through

Tammy Abraham's thumping early header helped Roma reach a European final for the first time in 31 years.

UECL 2021/22 - Highlight - Medium
Highlights: Roma 1-0 Leicester

Tammy Abraham's11th-minute header, and a disciplined defensive display thereafter, allowed Roma to edge past Leicester and into the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League final.

Key moments

11' Abraham heads in from Pellegrini corner
17' Pellegrini thwarted by Schmeichel
83' Iheanacho shoots straight at Rui Patrício
90+2' Maddison curls last-gasp effort wide

Match in brief: Abraham decisive at Olimpico

Much was made of Leicester's attacking threat but it was the hosts who started on the front foot, Kasper Schmeichel keeping out first-leg goalscorer Lorenzo Pellegrini's free-kick in the opening ten minutes.

Match as it happened: Roma 1-0 Leicester


From the resulting corner, Chris Smalling managed to evade his marker but could only head over the bar.

This was a warning of things to come for the visitors as, 11 minutes in, captain Pellegrini's outswinging corner from the right was met in emphatic fashion by Abraham, who outjumped Ricardo Pereira before powering an unstoppable header past the helpless Schmeichel.

Abraham heads Roma in front
Abraham heads Roma in front Getty Images

The visiting goalkeeper was on hand to deny Pellegrini just six minutes later after Nicola Zalewski's defence-splitting ball had sent the Roma captain clear as the visitors tried to weather the home side's pressure.

Leicester brought on Daniel Amartey and Kelechi Iheanacho at the break in a bid to match Roma's defensive system, and the Foxes sought to find their way back into the match. However, the visitors were unable to test a resolute home defence, only forcing Rui Patrício into two comfortable saves from curling efforts from James Maddison and sub Iheanacho late on.

Vieri Capretta, Roma reporter

Roma put in a dominant home display in front of a wonderful crowd. José Mourinho's plan was perfectly executed: attacking from the outset, then defending well and united while trying to hit on the break. An historic night for the Giallorossi.

Joe Terry, Leicester reporter

Not to be for Leicester. To their credit, they were game and fought until the end, but they simply came up against a Roma side that were too organised in defence and too motivated. The Leicester forwards were starved of any meaningful service. When the dust settles though, it's been a wonderful European campaign for the Foxes.

Reaction

Tammy Abraham, Roma goalscorer: "I have no words for the team and the fans. It’s a dream come true. Roma have deserved a final for a long time: I’m happy we reached it, for me and everyone."

Abraham: 'A dream come true'
Abraham: 'A dream come true'

José Mourinho, Roma coach: "We had a fantastic game, the players are great and deserve this final. In 180 minutes our goalkeeper had just two saves to make."

Brendan Rodgers, Leicester manager: "Of course when you lose the second leg of a semi-final it's disappointing. The second half, we were much better. We forced the game and imposed our way into the game. We had to make changes, I thought we weren't aggressive enough in the first half."

Jonny Evans, Leicester defender: "Going behind to a Mourinho team, you knew it was going to be difficult to break them down anyway. Losing that goal in the first-half to a set piece, which has been a problem for us, we didn't really find a way back in."

Key stats

  • Roma's last European final came in 1990/91, when they lost 2-1 on aggregate to fellow Italian side Inter (0-2 a, 1-0 h).
  • José Mourinho has now reached a major UEFA final with four different clubs.
  • Roma are unbeaten in their last 19 European home matches, since a 2-0 Champions League loss to Real Madrid in November 2018.
  • Tammy Abraham scored his ninth UEFA Europa Conference League goal of the season – becoming the first Englishman to score nine goals in a European campaign (group stage onwards) since Newcastle's Alan Shearer in 2004/05.
  • Roma's winner was their 15th first-half goal in the competition this season (group stage onwards) – more than any other side.

Line-ups

Roma: Rui Patrício; Mancini, Smalling, Ibañez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Sérgio Oliveira, Pellegrini, Zalewski (Viña 84); Zaniolo (Veretout 78), Abraham (Shomurodov 88)

Leicester: Schmeichel; Ricardo Pereira (Castagne 69), Fofana, Evans, Justin; Maddison, Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall (Pérez 77); Lookman (Amartey 46), Vardy, Barnes (Iheanacho 46)

Where is the 2022 Europa Conference League final?

Tirana's National Arena (Arena Kombëtare) will stage the final on Wednesday 25 May.

The winners gain a place in the 2022/23 UEFA Europa League group stage, if they have not qualified via their domestic competition.