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Sevilla vs Inter Milan - Europa League final: 5 key battles to watch out for | UEFA Europa League 2019-20

Inter Milan take on five-time champions Sevilla in the Europa League final on Friday.
Inter Milan take on five-time champions Sevilla in the Europa League final on Friday.
Shubham Dupare

After a delay of almost three months, the 2019-20 Europa League will draw to a conclusion with a winner-takes-all showdown between Inter Milan and Sevilla at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne. Though the Italian side are considered huge favourites, they will be up against Sevilla who've won the competition on a record five occasions.

Antonio Conte's men made quick work of Getafe (2-0), Bayer Leverkusen (2-1) and Shakhtar Donetsk (5-0) since the competition resumed while Sevilla overcame Roma (3-0), Wolves (1-0) and Manchester United (2-1) to make it to the 2019-20 Europa League final.

In-form forward Romelu Lukaku will be the key player for the Nerazzuri while it is expected that the dynamic full-back duo of Sergio Reguilon and Jesus Navas will again provide Los Palanganas with the sparks in the final game of the 2019-20 season.

The players and coaches of both teams have worked hard the entire season, and it will all come down to how each team handle the pressure in the final game of the competition.

Both the sides are packed with talented players brimming with confidence after a long season. On that note, we take a look at five key battles that may determine who takes home the 2019-20 Europa League trophy on Friday night.

Inter Milan vs Sevilla Europa League final: 5 key player battles


#5: Ashley Young (Inter Milan) vs Jesus Navas (Sevilla)

Jesus Navas and Ashley Young could have an amazing battle on the flank.
Jesus Navas and Ashley Young could have an amazing battle on the flank.

Jesus Navas has had an amazing season with Sevilla this term and was crucial in creating a lot of their chances in the final third. He completed most crosses into the box for a defender in LaLiga, and in the previous fixture, he provided the assist for Luuk de Jong's 78th-minute winner.

'Mr. Sevilla' has won the 2005-06 and 2006-07 editions of the UEFA Cup as a young prodigy with Sevilla. Now in his third European final for the club, Navas will face a familiar opponent in Ashley Young.

Young and Navas played for Premier League rivals Manchester United and Manchester City in the Premier League respectively as wingers. But in their meeting on Friday, the duo will be taking up more defensive roles, with Navas at right-back and Young expected to be deployed as a wing-back on the left for Inter Milan.

Ashley Young has put in some scintillating displays since the resumption of football and will provide a sizeable challenge for Navas.


#4: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan) vs Ever Banega (Sevilla)

Once teammates at Inter Milan, Banega and Brozovic will go head to head on Friday.
Once teammates at Inter Milan, Banega and Brozovic will go head to head on Friday.

Ever Banega will be looking ahead to a reunion with some of his former teammates when Sevilla take on Inter Milan. The Argentian midfielder has been highly industrious in the middle of the park for the Andalusians and has set up three goals for them in this season's competition.

Banega enjoyed the most prolific season of his career with Inter Milan in 2016-17 campaign, scoring six goals in the league. Though he has not been as active in front of goal since returning to Sevilla, he has assumed the role of a versatile midfielder.

The task of keeping Banega in check will invariably fall on Marcelo Brozovic, the deep-lying midfielder general of Inter Milan. Brozovic has posted impressive pass-completion stats for the last few seasons. His defensive contributions allow the wing-backs to move forward and put pressure on the opposition defence.

Brozovic will have to be at his defensive best against a team like Sevilla who like to play the ball through the centre.


Also See: 10 teams that have conceded the fewest goals in the 21st century

#3: Antonio Conte (Inter Milan) vs Julen Lopetegui (Sevilla)

Will Lopetegui win his first major silverware against Conte's Inter Milan?
Will Lopetegui win his first major silverware against Conte's Inter Milan?

Apart from being an exciting battle between the players of Sevilla and Inter Milan on the pitch, the 2019-20 Europa League final will also bring two managers with different strategies up against one another.

Antonio Conte is married to the 3-5-2 system that has brought a lot of success to his teams. He has not changed a single player in his starting XI since Inter Milan beat Getafe in the Round of 16.

In the final as well, it is expected that the Inter Milan tactician may employ a similar strategy where the play starts from the back, invite opponents on to press and then look to find Romelu Lukaku with long balls out of defence or from the goalkeeper.

Julen Lopetegui may be less experienced than Conte but has fit in very well at Sevilla where he has built a solid defensive unit. He typically uses a 4-3-3 formation and his midfield is well-drilled and disciplined. Sevilla's trademark under Lopetegui has been the deep runs of their full-backs that affords their attackers opportunities to attack more centrally.


#2: Danilo D'Ambrosio (Inter Milan) vs Sergio Reguilon (Sevilla)

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Sevilla - UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Sevilla - UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final

Sergio Reguilon is one of the players who has earned a lot of plaudits for his performances in the 2019-20 Europa League and will probably be one of the key players for Lopetegui's side in the final.

Reguilon has displayed consistency, and his abilities are evident at both ends of the field as he has scored three goals and provided five assists across all competitions. At 23 years of age, he possesses great technical skills and also has the presence of mind to decide when to attack and when to fall back.

Reguilon is likely to be engaged in a battle with Inter Milan's wing-back Danilo D'Ambrosio who has been highly reliable on the right-flank for the Serie A side this season.

He is quick, energetic, attack-minded and is strong in the air too. D'Ambrosio has enjoyed his most prolific season at the San Siro in 2019-20, scoring four goals in the Serie A and opening his account in the Europa League with a goal against Shakhtar Donetsk.


#1: Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan) vs Jules Kounde (Sevilla)

FC Internazionale vs Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Europa League Semi-Final
FC Internazionale vs Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Europa League Semi-Final

Romelu Lukaku is unstoppable at the moment. He has scored in his last ten Europa League games, a run that stretches back to his days with Everton. Lukaku is likely to once again run the show against Sevilla in Cologne on Friday and try to break Ronaldo Nazario's record of best debut season with Inter Milan.

The Belgian has scored 33 goals across all competitions in 2019-20 and now only needs one goal to break the Brazilian's record of 34 goals. Lukaku has found the perfect strike partner in Lautaro Martinez, and together the duo has contributed 54 goals for the club this season.

Lukaku will probably face one of the toughest tests of the season against a stubborn Sevilla defence that had the third-best defensive record in the Spanish La Liga this season. He will likely come face to face with Sevilla's 21-year-old defender Jules Kounde, who, like Lukaku has enjoyed a spectacular debut season for his club.

Kounde is an excellent ball-playing defender who is calm in possession and equally strong in the air as well as in one-on-one battles. He has maintained a 93.1 % pass accuracy in the Europa League, won two aerial duels on average per game and has been dribbled past only 0.1 times per 90.

Lukaku's duel with Kounde will be one of the best battles to watch out for in the match, and whoever comes out on top could be key in determining the outcome of the game.


Also See: Sevilla vs Inter Milan prediction, preview, team news and more | UEFA Europa League 2019-20.

Edited by Bhargav

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