Manchester United appear to have one foot in the final as they make their third visit to Italy this season armed with a handsome 6-2 lead against Roma.
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Last season's beaten semi-finalists Manchester United appear to have one foot in the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League final as they make their third visit to Italy in this season's knockout phase armed with a handsome 6-2 lead against Roma.
• Roma kicked off their European campaign in the UEFA Europa League group stage, registering 13 points as they topped Group A, three ahead of fellow qualifiers Young Boys. They then convincingly ousted two of coach Paulo Fonseca's former clubs, Braga (3-0 a, 3-1 h) and Shakhtar Donetsk (3-0 h, 2-1 a), before edging past Dutch league leaders Ajax in the quarter-finals (2-1 a, 1-1 h).
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær's team competed in the UEFA Champions League during the autumn, defeats in their final two Group H fixtures leaving them in third place on nine points behind Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. They have subsequently come through three UEFA Europa League ties, comfortably disposing of two Spanish clubs, Real Sociedad (4-0 a, 0-0 h) and Granada (2-0 a, 2-0 h), either side of a tightly contested round of 16 tie against Roma's Serie A rivals AC Milan (1-1 h, 1-0 a). They are yet to lose a UEFA Europa League encounter in 2020/21.
• United stormed back from a 1-2 half-time deficit to overwhelm Roma in the second half of the first leg at Old Trafford, scoring five times without reply to become the first team since Real Madrid in 1964 to score six goals in a major European semi-final match. Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani both registered doubles before Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood completed the scoring, a Lorenzo Pellegrini penalty and close-range Edin Džeko strike – his 20th in the UEFA Europa League – having put the visitors ahead at the interval.
• United and Roma have been paired together three times previously in UEFA competition, their six encounters prior to this tie, all in the UEFA Champions League, having taken place within a 12-month period from April 2007 to April 2008.
• The first match-up was in the 2006/07 quarter-final, Roma winning the first leg 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico before suffering what is still their heaviest European defeat in the return, current United assistant coach Michael Carrick scoring twice as Sir Alex Ferguson's team overwhelmed Luciano Spalletti's visitors 7-1 at Old Trafford.
• The following season the teams were drawn together twice more, first in the group stage, with United winning 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 away, then once more in the quarter-finals, where Ferguson again got the better of Spalletti as the English side won the first leg 2-0 in Rome before completing the job with another 1-0 victory in Manchester. United would go on to lift the trophy for the third time, defeating Chelsea on penalties in the Moscow final.
• This is Roma's first tie against English opposition since they lost to Liverpool in a high-scoring 2017/18 UEFA Champions League semi-final (2-5 a, 4-2 h). That defeat was their seventh in succession in two-legged UEFA ties against English clubs following victories in their first three.
• Roma have won ten of their 18 UEFA fixtures in Rome against English visitors (D4 L4), including five of the last six – although the two victories in knockout fixtures, 1-0 against Arsenal in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16 and 4-2 against Liverpool in the semi-finals of the same competition ten years later, were insufficient to turn around the tie after first-leg defeats in England. Beaten on penalties in the Stadio Olimpico by Arsenal, that had also been the Giallorossi's fate in the 1984 European Cup final against Liverpool following a 1-1 draw.
• United's record away to Italian clubs is W6 D3 L10, with wins recorded in each of their last three such fixtures – most recently at Milan in this season's round of 16. Including their round of 32 victory against Real Sociedad in neutral Turin, United have avoided defeat in their last seven matches on Italian soil (W5 D2).
• United have won their last four two-legged knockout ties against Italian opposition, taking their all-time record to W7 L6. They also lost the 1999 UEFA Super Cup to Lazio (0-1) – their only final against a Serie A side.
• Roma finished fifth in Serie A last term to qualify for the UEFA Europa League group stage for the second season running and fourth time in all. Like United, Fonseca's side were eliminated from the competition last season by eventual winners Sevilla, going down 2-0 in neutral Duisburg in the round of 16, which was the furthest the club had gone in the UEFA Europa League until this season – though they were UEFA Cup runners-up in 1990/91.
• The Giallorossi made it four qualifications from as many UEFA Europa League group stage participations this term, and a third as section winners. They secured this season's round of 32 place with two group games to spare, doing the double over both Young Boys (2-1 a, 3-1 h) and CFR Cluj (5-0 h, 2-0 a) but dropping points in both games against bottom-placed CSKA-Sofia (0-0 h, 1-3 a).
• The Rome club's handsome knockout phase successes over Braga and Shakhtar were followed by victory over Ajax, which has put them into the last four of the UEFA Europa League for the first time. It is 30 years since they last reached the semi-finals of this competition, in its former guise as the UEFA Cup, when they overcame Danish club Brøndby (0-0 a, 2-1 h) before going on to lose the two-legged final to fellow Italians Internazionale.
• A 0-2 defeat against holders Real Madrid in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League group stage is the only one of their last 21 European fixtures in the Italian capital that Roma have lost, winning 15. Their only home defeats in the UEFA Europa League have all come in the spring, with their knockout phase record at the Stadio Olimpico standing at W4 D2 L3; they had won four in a row before drawing against Ajax in the quarter-final.
• Roma's aggregate record is W8 L15 when they have been beaten away in the first leg of a UEFA tie, the most recent loss having been that 2017/18 UEFA Champions League semi-final against Liverpool. The Giallorossi have never previously lost the first away leg by more than three goals.
• United, the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League winners, finished third in the Premier League last season, when they also lost three semi-finals – in the English League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. Their league position enabled them to compete in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 23rd time.
• Solskjær's side got off to a flier in Group H, beating Paris 2-1 away and Leipzig 5-0 at home, but they lost three of their last four fixtures – 1-2 at İstanbul Başakşehir, 1-3 at home to Paris and 2-3 away to Leipzig – to drop down into third place.
• The Manchester club have appeared in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals twice previously, winning the first of them, in 2016/17 against Celta Vigo (1-0 a, 1-1 h), with Marcus Rashford scoring the winner in Spain, but losing last season against another Liga club, Sevilla, who defeated them 2-1 in a one-off encounter in neutral Cologne.
• United's away record in the UEFA Europa League is W9 D4 L6, the four most recent encounters having all been won with clean sheets. They have lost just one of their last 13 away fixtures in the competition (W8 D4) – 2-1 at Astana on Matchday 5 last season – and have scored at least once in all of their UEFA Europa League knockout phase encounters outside England, extending that run to 15 matches with the 2-0 victory in the quarter-final first leg at Granada.
• United have been successful in 19 of the 24 previous UEFA competition ties in which they won the first leg at home, most recently ousting Saint-Étienne from the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League round of 32 (3-0 h, 1-0 a). Three of the five eliminations have been by Italian clubs, but in each case after they won at Old Trafford by only a one-goal margin. They have won the first home leg by four goals on two previous occasions, both 4-0, and drew both second legs 0-0 away – against Hibernians of Malta in the first round of their triumphant 1967/68 European Cup campaign and Porto in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
Links and trivia
• The eight goals scored in the first leg of this tie equalled the record for a UEFA Europa League game, group stage to final. United also matched the competition record of Sporting CP by scoring five goals or more in a UEFA Europa League fixture for the fourth time. They also became only the seventh team to score five or more goals in the second half of a UEFA Europa League match and only the second to do so in the knockout phase – after Porto in a 5-1 win against Villarreal in 2010/11, also in the first leg of the semi-final.
• Roma's Pau López and Manchester United's David de Gea are fellow Spanish international goalkeepers.
• There are two former United players in the Roma squad – defender Chris Smalling, who joined the Giallorossi on loan from United in 2019 after nine years at Old Trafford before making the move permanent last summer, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who was with the Manchester club from July 2016 to January 2018.
• Both Smalling and Mkhitaryan were in the United side that won the 2017 UEFA Europa League final against Ajax, the Armenian international scoring the second goal in the 2-0 win. Alongside them were current United players Sergio Romero, Pogba (scorer of the first goal), Juan Mata, Rashford and substitute Anthony Martial.
• Džeko, who scored Roma's equaliser in the quarter-final second leg against Ajax, spent four and a half seasons with United's local rivals Manchester City, scoring 72 goals in 189 appearances for the club and winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the English League Cup. He scored Premier League doubles against United at Old Trafford on two occasions – in a 6-1 win on 23 October 2011 and a 3-0 success on 25 March 2014. He was also on target for City in a 3-2 defeat by United in the 2011 FA Community Shield.
• Džeko also faced United as a Wolfsburg player in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage, scoring his team's consolation goal in both matches (1-2 a, 1-3 h).
• Roma's Pedro Rodríguez was a Chelsea player from 2015 to 2020, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Europa League and scoring 43 goals in 206 appearances for the London club, including one in nine Premier League outings against United, before joining Roma. He was also a scorer for Barcelona against United in the 2011 UEFA Champions League final, which the Spanish side won 3-1 at Wembley.
• Roma pair Davide Santon (Newcastle 2011–15) and Jordan Veretout (Aston Villa 2015/16) have also played in England.
• Pogba played in Italy for Juventus between 2012 and 2016, winning Serie A in all four of his seasons there plus two domestic cups. He never scored in seven Serie A matches against Roma (W5 L2) though broke his duck against the Giallorossi in the first leg.
• Cavani played in Italy for Palermo (2007–10) and Napoli (2010–13), scoring nine Serie A goals against Roma – two in six games for Palermo and seven in six for Napoli, including a hat-trick in a 4-1 home win on 6 January 2013.
• Bruno Fernandes began his career in Italy, playing for Novara (2012/13), Udinese (2013–16) and Sampdoria (2016/17). He scored once against Roma, for Udinese in a 1-2 home defeat on 13 March 2016. His record against the Giallorossi in domestic competitions was W1 L5.
• Alex Telles played 21 Serie A games for Internazionale in 2015/16 but did not feature against Roma.
• Amad Diallo joined United from Atalanta in January having made just four league appearances for the Bergamo club, scoring once.
• Romero played for Sampdoria between 2011 and 2015, making 71 Serie A appearances. He was unbeaten in three games against Roma (W1 D2).
• Have played together:
Roger Ibañez & Amad Diallo (Atalanta 2019/20)
Bryan Cristante & Victor Lindelöf (Benfica 2014–16)
Pau López & Eric Bailly (Espanyol 2014/15
Pedro Rodríguez & Nemanja Matić (Chelsea 2015–17)
• Though absent from the first leg, Roma's Borja Mayoral remains the joint top scorer in this season's UEFA Europa League with seven goals – the same number as Pizzi and Yusuf Yazıcı of eliminated Benfica and LOSC Lille respectively.
• United are the only club in this season's semi-finals to have won the UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup. They are also alone among the four remaining participants in having won the UEFA Champions League/European Cup.
• United are just the fourth club to have appeared in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals in back-to-back seasons, after Benfica, Sevilla (three in a row) and Arsenal.
• Roma are bidding to become the first Italian winners of the UEFA Europa League. There had been no finalists from the country until Internazionale in 2019/20.
• While Manchester United's Premier League fixture at home to Liverpool on Sunday was postponed, Roma were defeated 2-0 in a Serie A encounter at Sampdoria, extending their winless run in all competitions to six matches (D2 L4).
• Roma's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L3:
4-2 v Norrköping, 1982/83 UEFA Cup second round
3-4 v Liverpool, 1983/84 European Champion Clubs' Cup final
3-4 v Real Zaragoza, 1986/87 European Cup Winners' Cup first round
6-7 v Arsenal, 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16
• Manchester United's record in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L2:
4-5 v Videoton, 1984/85 UEFA Cup quarter-final
3-4 v Torpedo Moskva, 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round
6-5 v Chelsea, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League final