AS Roma advanced to the Europa League semi-finals with a 3-2 cumulative victory over Ajax after Edin Dzeko’s late equalizer drew 1-1 at home on Thursday.
The Italian side will now face Manchester United, who beat Grenade 2-0 in the evening and 4-0 overall in their second leg quarter-final, for a place in next month’s final.
Brian Brobbey struck for Ajax four minutes after his halftime introduction, but Dzeko’s 72nd minute evened the scores in the second leg of the quarter-finals.
The visitors dominated possession and had a second goal disallowed for a foul by Nicolas Tagliafico, but struggled to break through a resolute home defense again despite a late attack.
“We had more problems in Amsterdam, but today we got them under control,” said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca. Sky Italia. “Ajax are a very strong team with great quality, but defensively we played a very good game.
“It’s satisfying. Reaching a semi-final is a source of pride, and we represent Italy at the moment, it’s a source of pride for Roma.”
The capital club are the last representative of Italy in European competition this season, and the clash with United will be their first European semi-final since a 7-6 loss to Liverpool in the 2017/18 Champions League.
Roma’s chances were tight, but striker Dzeko clinically took his own when a deflected cross fell in his way to the back post for a tap-in.
Alcacer and Moreno send Villarreal
Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno’s first half strikes guided Villarreal in the semi-finals of the Europa League with a 2-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb Thursday and a 3-1 triumph on aggregate.
Villarreal dominated the game and nearly took the lead after 25 minutes when striker Samuel Chukwueze rocked the post with a volley from close range.
However, they didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring, with Alcacer scoring 10 minutes later. Chukwueze was initially flagged offside in preparation, but the goal was allowed to stick after a VAR check.
Moreno doubled the hosts’ lead three minutes before the break after Alcacer’s effort was parried by Dominik Livakovic in Dinamo’s goal following a marauding run from center-back Raul Albiol to kick off sending.
The visitors rallied after the break and Geronimo Rulli was forced to make some smart saves in Villarreal’s goal while at the other end Chukwueze and Moreno missed out on the chances for victory.
Mislav Orsic pulled one off for Zagreb with 15 minutes remaining, but far from setting up a nervous final, the visitors never threatened to return to a tie as the Spaniards held on.
“We’ve been brilliant in this competition from the group stages. It’s just a shame the fans can’t be here because these are the kind of games you want to play in front of your fans – but this win is for them, “said midfielder Dani Parejo.
“We took the initiative and controlled things. Yes, they got one, but we were the better team throughout the game.”
Villarreal will take on their coach Unai Emery’s ex-club Arsenal in the last four after the English team defeated Slavia Prague.
Europa League semi-finals draw
First steps: April 29 | Return match: May 6
- Manchester United vs Rome
- Villarreal v Arsenal
When and where does the Europa League final take place?
The Europa League final will take place on Wednesday May 26 at the Gdansk Arena in Poland. The stadium was supposed to host the 2020 final, but after the tournament was delayed due to Covid-19, the centerpiece took place in Cologne, Germany, as Sevilla beat Inter 3-2.