Real Sociedad welcomes Roma to Anoeta on Thursday for the second leg of their round-of-16 matchup in search of a remarkable comeback if they are to advance to the Europa League quarter-finals.
Real Sociedad faced a difficult first leg at Stadio Olimpico, where they fell behind to an early goal by Stephan El Shaarawy in the 13th minute. The Italian forward capitalized on a swift counter-attack by Roma to put the Spanish side on the back foot.
Later in the game, Marash Kumbulla’s headed goal from a corner by Paulo Dybala further compounded Real Sociedad’s problems and jeopardized their Europa League campaign.
To add to their woes, Real Sociedad’s recent form in La Liga has been poor, with a winless run of four games leaving them in fourth place in the standings.
Their lack of goalscoring prowess is also a concern, with the team managing to score just twice in their last five matches. These results are particularly worrying as Real Sociedad has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in the Europa League.
Real Sociedad Form (All Competitions): D L D L D
Under the leadership of Jose Mourinho, Roma’s success in continental competitions has continued, and they are now on the verge of securing a place in the Europa League quarter-finals.
The team had already beaten Real Sociedad and Juventus between losing to Cremonese and Sassuolo.
The loss to Sassuolo was disappointing, as Roma was already trailing 2-1 when Marash Kumbulla was shown a red card for a reckless tackle on Domenico Berardi. Despite being reduced to ten men, Paulo Dybala scored a stunning goal in the second half to give Roma hope.
However, their chances of a comeback were dashed when they conceded a fourth goal in the 75th minute, ultimately losing the match 4-2 in a chaotic encounter.
While the loss to Sassuolo was a setback for Roma, their recent performances in Europe have been impressive, and they will be eager to carry that form into the rest of their season.
Roma Form (All Competitions): W L W W L
Real Sociedad received a significant boost last week as their star player David Silva returned to the starting lineup after a six-game absence due to a calf injury.
Unfortunately, Aritz Elustondo and former Roma striker Umar Sadiq remain sidelined due to injuries.
However, the team will be bolstered by the return of their 13-goal top scorer Alexander Sorloth, who was rested during their previous match and is expected to feature up front.
Roma’s strategy of trying to prevent their opponents from scoring in their upcoming match has received a boost with the news that Lorenzo Pellegrini is likely to be available for selection.
Diego Llorente, substituted at half-time in the previous match against his former club, is expected to return for the game in San Sebastian. Additionally, Andrea Belotti has recovered from his hand injury, and Roger Ibanez is now eligible to play after serving a European suspension.
Real Sociedad’s prediction starting lineup:
Remiro; Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Rico; Zubimendi, Merino; Oyarzabal, Silva, Kubo; Sorloth
Roma’s prediction starting lineup:
Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Llorente; Karsdorp, Cristante, Matic, Zalewski; Wijnaldum, Dybala; Abraham
Head to Head
AS Roma and Real Sociedad have only played against each other once before, in the first leg of their Europa League tie last week.
The Italian side emerged as winners with a 2-0 scoreline, giving them a significant advantage going into the second leg.
Time, Date & Venue
Date: Thursday, March 16
Time: 08:00 pm, UTC
Venue: Reale Arena stadium, San Sebastian city
Real Sociedad will need to be at their best to overturn the 2-0 deficit from the first leg of their Europa League tie against AS Roma.
While the Spanish side has struggled to find the back of the net in recent games, they will have to rediscover their attacking prowess to progress to the quarter-finals.