Monday, May 27, 2024

Prediction: AS Roma vs AC Milan

Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 7/5

Bookmaker: ZetBet

In the Europa League quarterfinals, Roma are set to host AC Milan at Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening, with a narrow lead from last week’s first leg.

Despite Milan winning both Serie A encounters this season, Roma’s 1-0 victory in the first leg has put them in a favorable position, bringing them a step closer to facing either West Ham or new German champions Bayer Leverkusen in the semifinals.

AS Roma

Roma’s quest for European success has been evident in recent years, particularly with their appearance in two UEFA finals in consecutive seasons. Following their victory in the inaugural Europa Conference League in 2022 and a close defeat to Sevilla in the UEFA Europa League the following year, the Giallorossi demonstrated a notable dose of competitiveness under former coach Jose Mourinho.

In their encounter with Milan at San Siro last week, Roma showcased this spirit by securing an important advantage over the Rossoneri. Gianluca Mancini, who also scored the decisive goal in the Derby della Capitale, netted in the 17th minute, helping Roma maintain their lead until the final whistle.

Under the guidance of Daniele De Rossi these days, Roma have shown promising results, losing only twice in 16 matches since his appointment in January. Currently occupying fifth place in the Serie A standings, the team bearing the proud name of the Italian capital is obviously keen to secure Champions League qualification for the next season. Alternatively, winning the Europa League would also grant them a spot in the UEFA’s elite club competition.

Their aspirations aside, Roma experienced a horrific moment on Sunday when their league match against Udinese was abandoned due to Evan Ndicka’s collapse in the 72nd minute. As Ndicka continues his recovery, his teammates will try to stay focused on their upcoming challenges, including the return leg against Milan and a crucial league match against fourth-placed Bologna next Monday.

Team News

Roma will surely field their strongest lineup against Milan, with Paulo Dybala, Gianluca Mancini, and captain Lorenzo Pellegrini returning to the starting XI after being rested for the Udinese match. However, midfielder Bryan Cristante will be absent due to suspension.

In Cristante’s absence, Edoardo Bove is expected to fill the midfield role. Additionally, with Evan Ndicka sidelined, Chris Smalling is likely to return to the defence. Neither Dean Huijsen nor Rasmus Kristensen were included in Roma’s squad list for the knockout phase.

Former Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy is set to join Dybala and Europa League specialist Romelu Lukaku in Roma’s attacking trident. Lukaku has been particularly prolific in this season, scoring seven goals in this competition and 27 all told.

AC Milan

While Roma comfortably advanced past Brighton and Hove Albion in the Europa League’s last 16, Milan faced a harder road through Rennes first in the play-off round, and then Slavia Prague. However, their seven-game winning streak came to an end with a defeat to Roma last week, which also marked the conclusion of their 29-match scoring run in all competitions.

Despite their dominance in the first leg, Milan failed to find the back of the net at San Siro, adding to their disappointment following their loss to city rivals Inter Milan in last season’s Champions League semifinals. Now, they face the risk of elimination from Europe by another domestic rival.

Milan’s history suggests that losing at home in the first leg of a UEFA knockout tie often leads to an eventual exit from continental competition. Additionally, a recent draw against Sassuolo in Serie A highlighted their vulnerability, as they trailed by two goals with almost two thirds of the game gone, before salvaging a point with goals from Luka Jovic and Noah Okafor.

Currently sitting in second place in Serie A, Milan trail Inter by a margin of 14 points, making it practically impossible for them to contend for the title at this point. Their focus now shifts to securing a strong finish in the league and clinching second place, while also pursuing their primary objective of winning the Europa League trophy.

To achieve this goal, Milan obviously must overcome Roma in the Eternal City, a task that will require a strong performance and determination to keep that dream alive.

Team News

Milan also rotated their squad in their recent match, but Mike Maignan will return to the goalkeeping role after being absent against Sassuolo. Fikayo Tomori, who missed the first leg due to suspension, is expected to feature in defence alongside Matteo Gabbia, with Simon Kjaer likely to miss out due to a flexor problem.

On the other hand, with Tommaso Pobega back in full training, Stefano Pioli has most of his squad to choose from. Luka Jovic and Samu Chukwueze, despite their impressive performances last time out, are expected to make way for Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic to join Rafael Leao up front.

Conclusion

Though Roma haven’t lost twice at home to the same team in one season since 2014/15, Milan will surely seek to rectify their goalscoring failures from last week with an improved attacking performance. A narrow Milan victory after 90 minutes, possibly taking the tie into extra time, could be on the cards.

Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 7/5

Bookmaker: ZetBet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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