Leicester City drew 1-1 with Roma in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final on Thursday, thanks to Gianluca Mancini’s second-half own goal, while Feyenoord defeated Marseille in a five-goal thriller.
Midway through the second half, Mancini got the final touch as he attempted to prevent Ademola Lookman from turning in a low ball pushed into the six-yard box by Harvey Barnes.
After Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Roma an early lead at the King Power Stadium, Leicester drew level in their first ever European semi-final.
The tie, which matches Mourinho against Brendan Rodgers, his one-time apprentice on the coaching staff at Chelsea, is currently poised ahead of next week’s rematch in Italy.
“I thought we played ever so well, really dominated the game, and I am very pleased with the performance,” Rodgers told broadcaster BT Sport.
Mourinho, who has won two Champions Leagues, a UEFA Cup, and a Europa League throughout his managerial career, is looking to add the new third-tier European Cup to his collection, and Roma could not have gotten off to a better start.
At the quarter-hour mark, Nicola Zalewski gathered the ball on the left and drove forward before sending in captain Pellegrini, who fired low past Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Mourinho, who has won two Champions Leagues, a UEFA Cup, and a Europa League throughout his managerial career, is looking to add the new third-tier European cup to his collection, and Roma could not have gotten off to a better start.
Barnes came on for Marc Albrighton at the same time that Kelechi Iheanacho came on for Jamie Vardy, who was making his first start since his latest injury setback in early March.
Barnes drove into the box before smashing a low ball towards Nigerian international Lookman from the left side of the area. Mancini, an Italian international defender, ended up assisting the ball over the line to tie the game at 1-1.
Rui Patricio then tipped an Iheanacho shot past the post, and Leicester, whose former striker Gary Lineker was in the stands, will need to win in Rome if they are to go to the final in Tirana, Albania, at the end of the month.
“We played an opponent with a different culture, a different intensity and to take everything to Rome is good for us,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s good to go home with this result. Let’s go for the final. I’m not speaking about the final in Tirana, but the ‘final’ in Rome.”
Dessers double fires Feyenoord
Feyenoord defeated Marseille 3-2 in Rotterdam, after squandering a two-goal lead before being awarded the game’s winner right at the opening of the second half.
In the 18th minute, Colombian forward Luis Sinisterra set up Cyriel Dessers to open the scoring for the Dutch, and Sinisterra doubled the advantage two minutes later, stroking home from a Reiss Nelson pass with his shot bouncing in off Valentin Rongier.
In a thrilling match between two past European Cup winners, Marseille equalised in the 28th minute when Cedric Bakambu put a ball into the path of Bamba Dieng, who slammed home a drive from just beyond the box.
Matteo Guendouzi’s low cross into the box from the right was put away by Feyenoord goalkeeper Ofir Marciano five minutes before half-time, and Brazil midfielder Gerson arrived to slam home the loose ball.
In a rowdy environment at De Kuip, Feyenoord took the lead again just 11 seconds into the second half when Duje Caleta-short Car’s backpass was intercepted by Dessers, who took advantage of the opportunity.
When the teams meet again at the Velodrome next Thursday, Marseille must overturn the deficit.
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