A Jose Mourinho masterclass squeezed the life out of Leicester, who saw their Europa Conference League hopes end in the last round against Roma.
Leicester’s line was led by Jamie Vardy, who had high aspirations of reaching the Europa Conference League final. At left-back, James Justin was selected ahead of Timothy Castagne.
Roma started with Tammy Abraham and Chris Smalling, with Sergio Oliveira coming in when Henrikh Mkhitaryan was injured in the first leg at the King Power Stadium, which ended 1-1.
Leicester may consider themselves unlucky not to be handed a penalty within the first five minutes. Chris Smalling pulled Wesley Fofana to the ground at a corner, but Leicester’s pleas went unheeded, and VAR detected nothing wrong.
With the Italians pouring on the pressure with a number of set pieces, that venture into Roma’s half was a rare one within the first 10 minutes. Keeping opponents quiet from dead ball situations has been a dilemma for Brendan Rodgers this season.
When Tammy Abraham soared high above Ricardo Pereira to hammer a header past Kasper Schmeichel, it seemed almost inevitable that the pressure would tell.
Mourinho’s masterpiece has left the Foxes frustrated.
The Foxes continued where they had left off. In two-thirds of the pitch, he has control of the ball and appears to be at ease. However, piercing Roma’s well-drilled backline remained a problem they couldn’t solve.
Jamie Vardy continued to be starved of service, with attack after attack breaking down a pass or two before being fed. Patricio’s gloves remained very cold as the hour neared.
Roma’s back three of Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, and Roger Ibanez were resisting all Leicester could throw at them. At the other end of the field, Abraham won his fair share of aerial battles and continued to provide his center-backs with an escape when going long.
Leicester threw caution to the wind late in the game, throwing more and more men forward.
This drove Roma further into their own half, allowing James Maddison to finally put Patricio to the test. To save for the stopper, his effort was straightforward, but it provided a glimmer of optimism into the closing 10 minutes.
However, Mourinho’s teams do not wilt easy, and it was to be Roma’s night in the end.
Despite the 1-0 loss, Roma advanced to the final with a 2-1 aggregate score. On May 25, they will meet Feyenoord at Tirana, Albania.