Leeds United's Diego Llorente shows different side at AS Roma but heartbreaking end for loanee
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Spanish centre-back Llorente departed Leeds in January to join Serie A side Roma on loan for the rest of the season and the 29-year-old was named on boss Jose Mourinho’s bench for Wednesday night’s Europa League final against Sevilla in Budapest.
An ill-tempered affair ended in a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes plus stoppage time and Llorente was finally handed his chance from the bench upon the interval of extra-time. That meant 15 minutes plus what proved a large amount of stoppage time in a European final and Llorente was deployed on the left hand side of defence in replacing left back/left wing back Leonardo Spinazzola.
The Spaniard held firm when called for in a second period that largely featured Roma pressing for a winner but with Sevilla looking to hit back on the counter. Llorente was Roma’s last man back as Sevilla cleared a set piece and the Leeds loanee took no chances in playing the ball all the way back to keeper Rui Patricio to clear.
Llorente also went forward for Roma’s set pieces but neither side were able to find a winner which meant a penalty shoot out to determine who would lift the trophy and also seal qualification for next season’s Champions League.
Sevilla, though, proved far more accomplished from 12 yards and were crowned Europa League winners for a record seventh time after a 4-1 triumph on spot kicks in which Llorente was not one of the penalty takers.
The Whites loanee has made 11 appearances for Roma during his loan spell, three of which were in the Europa League in which Llorente now has a runners-up medal. The defender looked naturally disappointed as he collected the medal but kept it around his neck, unlike boss Mourinho who instantly removed his and then threw it into the crowd to a young Roma fan.
Roma still have one game left in Serie A in which they sit sixth but only one point ahead of seventh-placed Juventus. Roma host relegation-battling Spezia in Sunday night’s finale whilst Juve visit 12th-placed Udinese. Atalanta are just one point ahead of Roma in fifth place and host tenth-placed Monza on the final day.