Mourinho’s men shut out Real Sociedad to seal their spot in the Europa League quarter-final, having won the first leg 2-0.
Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma produced a defensive masterclass to hold Real Sociedad to a goalless draw in the second leg of their Europa League last 16 clash at Anoeta on Thursday night.
Having won the first leg 2-0, Mourinho’s men knew they only needed to avoid defeat to book their spot in the Europa League quarter-final, and they did just that, thanks to a solid defensive performance.
Mourinho set up Roma in a 3-5-1-1 formation, with Belotti leading the line in place of Tammy Abraham.
The wing-backs provided cover for the midfield trio of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Gini Wijnaldum and Bryan Cristante. The game plan worked perfectly, as Roma reduced Sociedad to just three shots on target.
How it happened
The match started at a frenetic pace, with AS Roma winning the first corner of the game as early as the second minute.
However, Mourinho’s men, who have always been dangerous from set pieces, could not make it count, although they had penalty shouts after Roger Ibanez was pulled down in the box.
Sociedad did take control following the early corner scare, but despite their dominance, the Spanish side found it hard to break down a resolute Roma defence.
Mourinho’s Roma in driving seat as they see off Real Sociedad
Instead, it was Roma that almost took the lead after Paulo Dybala’s effort was deflected just wide off the post.
The near miss caught Sociedad by surprise but they picked up the pace, dominating possession with Roma happy to sit back.
The White-Blue, however, had to wait midway through the first half before their first shot on target, with Brias Mendez testing Rui Patricio from the edge of the box.
Sociedad continued to press, with Merino coming close just moments later. However, Patricio was once again equal to the task.
Sociedad failure to punish made Roma comfortable at the back. The Yellow and Reds did not offer much in attack but they were dangerous from set pieces, and they almost had the lead just before halftime after Smalling bundled in a Dybala corner.
However, the goal was chalked off by VAR as the ball hit Smalling’s hand. The decision proved to be the last action of the half as both teams went into the break with the scores goalless.
Oryazabal hits the bar but Roma survive
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Sociedad playing most of the game in Roma’s half.
But despite having a larger share of the ball possession, Imanol Alguacil Barrenetxea’s men only created one big chance.
However, Oryazabal could only hit the bar after he was left free following a corner kick. That proved to be Sociedad’s only real chance in the second half as Roma held on.
The match ended on a disappointing note for Sociedad as Carlos Fernandez was sent off for a second yellow card following an altercation with Chris Smalling.
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