HUNGARY: The UEFA Europa League final between Sevilla and AS Roma is set to take place, with Jose Mourinho of Roma aiming to become the most decorated head coach in European competitions. If Roma emerges victorious, Mourinho will surpass Giovanni Trapattoni’s record. The highly anticipated UEFA final is scheduled for Wednesday, May 31, at 3 p.m. ET in Budapest’s Puskas Arena.
Mourinho boasts an impressive collection of titles, including the UEFA Cup, two UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Europa League, and one Europa Conference League trophy. Should Roma triumph, Mourinho will be the first person to win UEFA’s second-tier competition with three different clubs.
Sevilla, having secured six out of the last 18 championships, holds a dominant position in the tournament’s history. While Jose Luis Mendilibar has successfully guided Sevilla this season, this will be his first European championship match, and Sevilla has never lost a final.
Both Roma and Sevilla are likely to return to European competitions next season, but winning this final is crucial if they aspire to play top-tier European soccer.
Teams’ journey to the Final
Sevilla: After narrowly saving their European season in the UEFA Champions League group stage, Sevilla defeated PSV Eindhoven in the playoffs to advance. Under the guidance of Jorge Sampaoli, they overcame Manchester United, but it was Mendilibar who led them past Fenerbahce. In the semifinals, they faced Juventus as the final hurdle, setting the stage for a clash against another Italian team.
Roma: Roma’s path to the final paralleled Sevilla’s journey, eliminating Red Bull Salzburg, defeating Real Sociedad, triumphing over Feyenoord in extra time, and overcoming Bayer Leverkusen with a single-goal victory in the semifinals. Mourinho will add another chapter to his illustrious career in this final encounter.
Expected lineups and key players
Sevilla: Yassine Bounou is likely to replace Marko Dmitrovic in goal, while Tanguy Nianzou, Marcao, and Joan Jordan have recovered from injuries. At 37 years and 191 days old, Jesus Navas is set to become the oldest player to start a UEFA Cup or Europa League final, surpassing David Weir’s record from 2008.
Youssef En-Nesyri is expected to lead the attack, replacing Rafa Mir. The starting lineup for Sevilla is expected to include Fernando, Rakitic, Bounou, Navas, Bade, Gudelj, Telles, Ocampos, Torres, Gil, and En-Nesyri.
Roma: Rick Karsdorp and Marash Kumbulla will be absent from the Giallorossi lineup, but Paulo Dybala and Leonardo Spinazzola are expected to be fit. Mourinho made several changes in the lineup against Fiorentina, with Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nemanja Matic, and Rui Patricio returning to the squad.
This match promises an enthralling clash, with an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Despite Mourinho’s expertise in big UEFA competition finals, Sevilla is favored to win the Europa League final. It won’t be surprising if the match goes beyond 90 minutes or even reaches a penalty shootout. A possible outcome could be Sevilla 1, Roma 2 after extra time.