• Monday, May 20, 2024
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Boniface, Lookman eye Europa League final spot

Victor Boniface (3)

Nigerian forwards, Victor Boniface and Ademola Lookman, will be hoping to fire their clubs to the final of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Boniface will lead Bayer Leverkusen attack when they host Roma at the Bay Arena for the second leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final clash, while Lockman’s Atalanta side will welcome French Lique 1 side Marseille at the Gewiss Stadium.

Xabi Alonso’s men triumphed 0-2 away at the Stadio Olimpico despite conceding possession for a large spell of the match. Goals from Florian Wirtz and Robert Andrich gave the Germans victory over the Italians, extending their unbeaten run in the Europa League to 13 matches (W8, D4).

Leverkusen equalled Benfica’s 59-year-old 48-game unbeaten streak last weekend when it defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 5-1 in the Bundesliga. The German champions will be keen to break the record against Roma.

On the other hand, Roma are keen to overturn the deficit as they look to make their third consecutive European finals. The allure of stopping Leverkun’s unbeaten streak may serve as additional motivation for Danielle De Rossi’s men.

Also on Thursday, Atalanta will be banking on the home crowd to stir them to a first European final when Marseille comes visiting. The home side failed to defend an early lead at Stade de Marseille last week as the match ended 1-1.

Marseille’s coach, Jean-Louis Gasset will be worried about his side’s away record in Europe having won only one of their six games on foreign soil in the competition this season, losing at Villarreal in the last 16 and Benfica in the quarter-finals. He will be banking on the top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to fire the team to another European final.

In the Conference League, the last English team in Europe, Aston Villa face the tough task of overturning a 2-4 first-leg defeat at home when they visit the Karaiskakis Stadium to take on Olympiacos.