Leicester City

Leicester City

Premier League • England

Mourinho masterclass ends Leicester dreams after Tammy Abraham exploits familiar weakness

Tammy Abraham after scoring for Roma in the Europa Conference League against Leicester

A Jose Mourinho masterclass sucked the life out of Leicester who saw their Europa Conference League dreams end against Roma at the penultimate hurdle.

Jamie Vardy led the Leicester line with hopes high of advancing to the final of the Europa Conference League. James Justin got the nod ahead of Timothy Castagne at left-back.

Tammy Abraham and Chris Smalling started for Roma with Sergio Oliveira in after Henrikh Mkhitaryan picked up an injury in the first leg at the King Power, which finished 1-1.

Leicester could count themselves unlucky to not be awarded a penalty inside five minutes. Chris Smalling hauled Wesley Fofana to the ground at a corner, though Leicester’s appeals fell on deaf ears and VAR surprisingly saw nothing doing.

That foray into Roma’s half was a rare one inside the first 10 minutes with the Italians piling on the pressure with a series of set pieces. Keeping opponents quiet from the dead ball has been a conundrum Brendan Rodgers has been unable to solve this season.

Almost inevitably, the pressure told when Tammy Abraham rose high above Ricardo Pereira to thunder his header past Kasper Schmeichel.

If the Foxes were to make the first European final in their history, they would have to do it from behind in the cauldron of the Stadio Olimpico.

The visitors weathered the storm and began to find their footing in Rome. Possession was easy to come by, but testing Rui Patricio between the sticks was another matter entirely.

The scores remained 1-0 (2-1 on aggregate) as the half-time whistle blew. With zero shots on target, Leicester’s only way from here was up.

Rodgers shuffled his deck at the break, replacing Ademola Lookman and the ineffective Harvey Barnes with Daniel Amartey and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Mourinho masterclass leaves Foxes frustrated

The Foxes picked up where they left off. controlling possession and looking comfortable in two thirds of the pitch. Yet puncturing Roma’s well-drilled backline remained a puzzle they couldn’t quite solve.

Jamie Vardy remained starved of service with attack after attack breaking down a pass or two before he could be fed. As the hour mark approached, Patricio’s gloves remained ice cold.

Roma’s back three of Gianluca Mancini, Smalling and Roger Ibanez were repelling everything Leicester could launch their way. At the other end, Abraham won his fair share in the air and continued to give his centre-backs an out when going long.

Leicester threw caution to the wind late on with more and more bodies thrown forward.

That pushed Roma deeper towards their own area and allowed James Maddison to finally test Patricio. His effort was simple to save for the stopper, though it offered a glimmer of hope entering the final 10 minutes.

Yet Mourinho teams don’t wilt easily and ultimately, it was to be Roma’s night.

The 1-0 victory saw Roma advance to the final via a 2-1 aggregate scoreline. They’ll face Feyenoord in the Albanian capital of Tirana on May 25.