Roma qualified for the Europa League semifinals for the second consecutive season, proving against Milan that they aren’t only pretty, while the Rossoneri received the same lesson they had given Napoli a year ago.

Roma secured a 2-1 win over Milan at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday, so they qualified for the Europa League semifinals with a 3-1 win aggregate result. Here are three talking points from last night’s showdown in the capital.

Roma aren’t only pretty

Daniele De Rossi’s appointment has brought a new mentality and a new playing style in Rome. The Giallorossi are more attacking-minded; they keep the ball on the ground rather than rely on long passes like under José Mourinho, and overall, they play much better football. However, the game against Milan proved that the Giallorossi hadn’t forgotten how to defend. De Rossi’s playing style was clear and pretty simple too. Stephan El Shaarawy was again deployed as a right midfielder, Chris Smalling returned to central defence and Roma sat deep from the very beginning, hurting Milan with counter-attacks. Roma were even more defensive when Zeki Celik was sent off early in the first half, and eventually, they only conceded in the final minutes.

Milan have been here already

When Milan were paired with Roma in the Europa League quarter-final draw, many thought the Rossoneri were favourite. Milan had emerged victorious in the previous two Serie A meetings and were, and still are, 14 points above the Capitoline in the Serie A table. Nevertheless, the Rossoneri were not only eliminated, but they even deserved to be knocked out. One year ago, Stefano Pioli’s men eliminated Napoli from the Champions League quarter-finals in similar circumstances. The Partenopei were dominating in Serie A, but Milan surprised them over the two European legs, securing a spot in the semifinals against city rivals Inter. This time around, they received the same lesson they had given Napoli last season.

Roma’s quality and organization

As Pioli highlighted at the end of the match, Roma showed more quality than Milan across the two legs. “We certainly lacked quality, as aside from perhaps not creating very clear-cut opportunities, we did have situations in the box that we should’ve made more of,” said the Italian tactician. “We should’ve made more of the fact they were down to 10 men, but we didn’t have the quality or determination to overturn a result like that after going 2-0 down.” The Giallorossi outplayed Milan in central midfield and looked way more organised than their Serie A rivals. Lorenzo Pellegrini, Edoardo Bove and Leandro Paredes won most duels in central midfield and, at least in the first half, they had the quality and vision to start the counter-attack and help their teammates hurt Milan in the final third. When Mourinho was in charge of Roma, not many had realised this was their potential.

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