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Roma 0-2 Leverkusen: Match report and player ratings as German champions put one foot in final

Bayer Leverkusen kept their treble hopes alive with an impressive victory at Roma in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final.

Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen secured a 2-0 win against AS Roma in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday, thanks to goals from Florian Wirtz and Robert Andrich.

Xabi Alonso’s team now is unbeaten in 47 games this season, including in all 10 of their Europa League matches. The second leg will be played in Germany next Thursday. The winner will face Marseille or Atalanta in the final on May 22 at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

At the start of the match, Roma hit the woodwork through Romelu Lukaku, but Leverkusen took the lead through Wirtz in the 28 minutes. Newly-crowned Bundesliga champions dominated the match after the goal and could score more before halftime.

After Roma missed a great chance to equalize at the start of the second half, Alonso’s side controlled the match with the ball as they were more patient compared to the first half. After a perfect and organised performance, Leverkusen is a step closer to the Europa League final in Dublin.

Roma vs Leverkusen: Play-by-Play

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The first big chance of the match was for Roma in the 21st minute when Lukaku came close to scoring. Paredes sent Dybala’s corner into the danger area from the right, but Lukaku’s powerful hit the crossbar.

Two minutes later, Frimpong was played in on goal by Wirtz, but the goalkeeper narrowed his angle, and he shot into the side netting.

The German champions opened the scoring in the 28th minute through Wirtz. Grimaldo won the ball on the left after a mistake by Karsdorp and cut it back for Wirtz who scored with a tap-in.

After the goal, Leverkusen had more space to play on the counter, and they came close to scoring another goal in the 34th minute. Once again, Grimaldo had space on the left and sent the ball to Frimpong. However, Frimpong’s shot went wide of Svilar’s near post.

Roma midfielder Pellegrini tried his luck with a right-footed shot from 25 yards out, but it went wide of the far post. Leverkusen had a great chance to double its lead before halftime after Roma failed to clear the ball, but Grimaldo’s shot hit Spinazzola from six yards out.

Roma were fortunate they only conceded one goal in the first half, as the visitors were the dominant side.

Cristante came close to an equaliser for Roma from Dybala’s corner in the 55th minute, but his header flew wide across the goal.

Andrich scored the second goal for Allonso’s side with a stunning strike from 25 yards. Roma keeper Svilar could not save his team as the ball went into the top corner.

Roma appealed for a penalty when the ball hit Jonathan Tah’s body in the 86th minute, but VAR did not award them a spot kick. Three minutes after coming onto the pitch, Tammy Abraham had a chance to score in the last minute. The ball reached him after a major mix-up between the Leverkusen defenders, but he sent his header over the bar.

Roma Player Ratings (4-3-3)

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Mile Svilar (GK) – 7/10: Made a couple of good saves and was solid but could have done better for Andrich’s goal.

Rick Karsdorp (RB) – 3/10: Terrible performance and was at fault for Wirtz’s goal with his mistake.

Chris Smalling (CB) – 6/10: The English defender had a decent game, but Wirtz caused problems for him in the first half.

Gianluca Mancini (CB) – 6/10: A solid performance and won his aerial duels.

Leonardo Spinazzola (LB) – 6/10: His deliveries let him down in attacking positions. Lost some key duels against Jeremie Frimpong at the back.

Lorenzo Pellegrini (CM) – 6/10: Had a quiet night and was anonymous for most of the match.

Bryan Cristante (CM) – 6/10: Missed a great chance to score for Roma. Failed to make a positive impact with the ball.

Leandro Paredes (DM) – 6/10: Tireless without the ball, but failed to make an impact with the ball as Leverkusen dominated the possession.

Stephan El Shaarawy (FW) – 6/10: Caused some problems in the first half, but his impact was minimal.

Paulo Dybala (FW) – 7/10: Probably Roma’s best player on the night. Created Roma’s two best chances with his delivery from the corner. The Argentine was the sharpest attacker in his team.

Romelu Lukaku (ST) – 6/10: Unlucky as his header hit the woodwork. Worked hard but did not have any other chance.

Substitutes

Tammy Abraham (For Dybala – 90′): Did not have enough time to have an impact.

Angelino (For Karsdorp– 66′) – (6/10): better performance than Karsdorp, but failed to make a positive impact.

Tomasso Baldanzi (For Paredes – 79′)– (5/10): Failed to take back control of the midfield for Leverkusen.

Sardar Azmoun (For Lukaku – 79′) – (6/10): Caused problems for Leverkusen defenders and made one shot on goal.

Manager

De Rossi (5): With more luck, his team could score one goal, but they were the second-best team throughout the match at home. Lost the tactical battle to Alonso as the German side dominated the middle of the pitch, and he failed to change the game with his subs.

Bayer Leverkusen Player Ratings (3-4-2-1)

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Matěj Kovář (GK) – (7.1/10): Made a couple of saves. Solid and calm performance.

Piero Hincapie (CB) – (7/10): Made crucial tackles and interceptions. Solid in defense and attack.

Jonathan Tah (CB) – (7/10): Composed on the ball and organized the defensive line well.

Edmond Tapsoba (CB) – (7/10): Made several clearances and won his physical duels.

Granit Xhaka (CM) – (7/10): Composed on the ball. Helped Leverkusen to control the match with his passing.

Robert Andrich (CM) – (8/10): Scored a stunning goal and won many curial duels in the middle of the pitch.

Josip Stanišić (RW) – (7/10): Created problems for Roma on the right flank side. Solid performance in attack and defense and provided an assist.

Alex Grimaldo (LW) – (8/10): One of the best players on the pitch. Create chances for Leverkusen with his attacking runs.

Jeremie Frimpong (AM) – (7/10): Another influential attacking performance but could score with better finishing.

Amine Adli (AM) – (8/10): A constant danger throughout the game and caused problems for Roma with his runs without the ball.

Florian Wirtz (ST) – (9/10): Probably the best player on the pitch. Scored a crucial goal and created dangerous chances for his team.

Substitutions

Nathan Tella (For Adli 77′) – (5): Failed to make any impact as he only sent one pass.

Jonas Hoffman (For Wirtz 77′) – (6): Helped his team with his running but did not make any difference with the ball.

Exequiel Palacios – N/A: Did not have enough time to have an impact.

Odilon Kossounou – N/A: Did not have enough time to have an impact.

Manager

Alonso (8): His team’s unbeaten run continued with another measured performance away from home. They created several chances in the first 45 minutes and controlled the match with the ball in the second half. The Spaniard’s team made another step toward winning the treble.

Sam Barton
Sam Barton
Sam Barton fell in love with football during the 98 World Cup and has been fascinated by it ever since. The tactical side of the game is what truly inspires him to think, read and write about football, making him the ideal football writer.
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