The Italian trail of Juan Mata

The Asturian has starred in notable moments in his career against teams such as Juventus, Napoli and Genoa. Manchester United will face AS Roma in the first leg of the Europa League semifinals on Thursday.

Months after the game against Sevilla in Cologne, Juan Mata’s Manchester United returns to the semi-finals of the Europa League. This Thursday, the Red Devils will host AS Roma at Old Trafford, in the first leg of the penultimate round of the tournament. It will be a duel between two historic teams, from two cities that are very passionate about football.

During his career in the elite, Mata has played several editions of the Champions League and the Europa League. However, his clashes with Italian teams have not been frequent. A fact that has not prevented him from leaving great moments against teams from the transalpine country.

The most recent of them was in the Champions League: the brilliant direct free-kick that made the 1-1 against Juventus, in a clash that Manchester United ended up winning 1-2 (November 7, 2018). Years ago, in 2012 (February 21), a goal from him allowed Chelsea to come out alive from the visit to the Napoli of his current teammate Cavani (3-1 in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16). That goal was decisive for the outcome of the tie. The London side won 4-1 (in extra time) in the second leg and took a key step towards Munich’s historic final against Bayern.

On the other hand, as a Valencia player he played against Genoa in the first phase of the 2009/10 Europa League. He won both games (3-2 and 1-2). In the first of them, in Mestalla, he was the assistant to one of the goals, achieved by Zigic.

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