Europa League Playoff Second Leg Tips: Rampant Roma to progress

Roma coach Daniele De Rossi
Daniele De Rossi has transformed his beloved Roma's fortunes

The battle to qualify for the last 16 of the Europa League continues, and Kevin Hatchard has tips from four games.

  • Roma can continue excellent form

  • Gyokeres to inspire Sporting win

  • Lens can squeeze past Freiburg

  • Toulouse to take it to Benfica

  • De Rossi can inspire Giallorossi again

    Roma v Feyenoord
    Thursday 22 February, 20:00

    It's been quite a purple patch for Roma in European competition, and that superb run of results in both the Europa League and Europa Conference League has come at Feyenoord's expense more than once. Roma beat the Dutch giants 1-0 in the final of the UECL, and last season they dumped them out of the Europa League in the knockout phase.

    Roma are on course to once again defy Arne Slot's Feyenoord after drawing 1-1 in Rotterdam last week. Romelu Lukaku fired in a leveler as the game moved into its final quarter, which means this is now effectively a one-off game at the Stadio Olimpico.

    Roma have been revived by the somewhat surprising decision to sack Jose Mourinho. Club legend Daniele de Rossi has been handed the reins, and he has dragged the team to within four points of the top four. Roma's only defeat has been against runaway leaders Inter, and even then they led against Simone Inzaghi's champions-elect.

    At the Olimpico, Roma have won 12 of their last 15 home matches in all competitions, and I think they can further enhance that outstanding record. Feyenoord lost all three of their Champions League away games this season, so I'll back Roma to win at 2.26/5.

    Back Roma to win at 2.26/5

    Bet here

    Sporting to finish the job in style

    Sporting v Young Boys
    Thursday 22 January, 20:00

    Sporting planted one foot firmly in the last 16 last week, as they swept to a 3-1 first-leg win in Switzerland against Young Boys. Ruben Amorim's side has gone on a run of 13 wins in 14 in all competitions, and I see no reason why that form won't continue at the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Thursday evening.

    Sporting have won their last 12 home games in league and cup, and nine of those wins were by a margin of two goals or more. In the last home match they demolished a competent Braga side 5-0. Swedish international striker Viktor Gyokeres is having a tremendous campaign, and has rattled in 22 goals this term for club and country.

    Young Boys have won just two of their last seven away matches in all competitions, and in the Champions League they lost 3-0 at Manchester City and 2-1 at RB Leipzig. Despite a sizeable lead at the top of the Swiss Super League, they have recently lost 1-0 at Basel and 3-1 at Zurich.

    We can back Sporting to win, Over 2.5 Goals and Gyokeres to score at 2.186/5 on the Sportsbook's Bet Builder. Gyokeres scored from the penalty spot in the first leg.

    Back Sporting to win, Over 2.5 Goals and Gyokeres to score at 2.186/5

    Bet here

    Lens to strike down Streich's men

    Freiburg v Lens
    Thursday 22 February, 17:45

    This is a battle between teams that are hugely punching above their weight, and clubs that have suffered the pain of relegation in the 21st century. Freiburg have reached the knockout phase of the Europa League in back-to-back seasons, an unprecedented achievement for a team that has never won a major trophy. Lens qualified for the Champions League last term, and have beaten Arsenal this season.

    While Lens have recovered from a dreadful start to the campaign, it feels like Freiburg are heading the other way. Christian Streich's side have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions, and at the weekend they had to come from behind three times to force a 3-3 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt. Freiburg have now leaked three goals in four of their last five competitive games.

    With Freiburg still missing key defenders like Matthias Ginter and Philipp Lienhart, I just don't see them as clear favourites here, and I like the 2.1211/10 on offer for Lens to qualify. I can see this maybe even going all the way, and Lens have lost just five of their last 25 games in all competitions.

    Back Lens to qualify at 2.1211/10

    Bet here

    Toulouse to go out swinging

    Toulouse v Benfica
    Thursday 22 February, 17:45

    Toulouse kept things closer than I expected in Lisbon last week, as they held Benfica to a level scoreline until virtually the last kick of the game. Angel Di Maria's second penalty of the night gave Roger Schmidt's Portuguese champions a 2-1 first-leg victory.

    Les Violets will be able to rely on a vociferous home crowd, and they will have every reason to be confident they can put Benfica under pressure. They have beaten Liverpool this term, they have held PSG and they overcame LASK.

    I fancy Over 2.5 Goals here at 1.824/5. That has paid out in nine of Toulouse's last 13 competitive games, and 12 of Benfica's last 15.

    Back Over 2.5 Goals at 1.824/5

    Bet here

    Now read Lewis Jones' Premier League piece on the patterns to be taking note of this weekend!

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