Europa League PREVIEW | Roma v Brighton

Italian managers Daniele De Rossi and Roberto De Zerbi go head-to-head as Roma welcome European rookies Brighton in the Europa League last-16 first-leg tie. 

Roma had to go through a dramatic playoff match to get through to this stage of the competition against Feyenoord. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw and a similar result ensued after extra time in the second leg at the Stadio Olimpico. Goalkeeper Mile Svilar was the hero of the day as he kept out Alireza Jahanbaksh’s spot kick to save Romelu Lukaku’s blushes after he missed his penalty shootout chance. Nicola Zalewski netted the winning strike from the spot to send his team to the Round of 16. 

The Giallorossi continue their revival under new manager and former player Daniele De Rossi as they are currently unbeaten in their last five matches across all competitions. After securing crucial victories against Frosinone, Torino and Monza, Roma have now gone a point clear of Atalanta in 5th place and are back in firm contention to displace Bologna and finish top four. 

Daniele De Rossi’s tactics are syncing well with the club’s style of play and the players’ mindsets. The transition from Jose Mourinho to the Italian manager was quick enough as Roma are back fighting much more efficiently. 

Meanwhile, Brighton are enjoying their first participation in European competition thanks to the efforts of manager Roberto De Zerbi last season. However, the Brescian coach will not be in a festive mood and will aim to topple his personal friend De Rossi in the opposition dugout. 

The Seagulls had a tremendous attacking campaign in the Europa League group stage as they navigated through the likes of Marseille, Ajax and AEK Athens to finish top of Group B. They have also kept their character and have recorded four clean sheets in their last four European games. 

Despite their exploits in the Europa League, Brighton are set to miss out on the continental leagues for next season as they currently sit ninth in the Premier League standings, three points short of 7th-placed West Ham, the position required for qualification to the Conference League. Since the 5-0 win over Sheffield United, the Seaside-based club have gone three games in a row without a victory. Brighton will play for pride against Roma as it is expected to be a fiery clash.

Results from their last five matches across all competitions




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Team News

Daniele De Rossi will have a problem choosing his right-back as Rasmus Kristensen and Rick Karsdrop are yet to overcome their respective injuries. 

Tammy Abraham is still recovering from his ACL injury. Zeki Celik is expected to start the match and Chris Smalling might be seen starting the defence. 

Sardar Azmoun is set to get some minutes but the likes of Paulo Dybala, Romelu Lukaku and Stephan El Sharaawy remain the favourites to feature in the starting eleven. 

As for Brighton, Joao Pedro is set to start the match and overcome Romelu Lukaku in the Europa League scoring charts. 

Kaoru Mitoma, Solly March, Jack Hinshelwood and James Milner will remain sidelined for the match. 

Pascal Gross and Simon Adringra are expected to get the nod. 

Predicted XIs

Roma (4-3-3): Svilar; Celik, Mancini, Ndicka, Spinazzola; Cristante, Paredes, Pellegrini; Dybala, Lukaku, El Shaarawy.

Brighton (3-4-2-1): Steele; Igor, Dunk, van Hecke; Lamptey, Gilmour, Gross, Estupinan; Buonanotte, Enciso; Ferguson.


Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN


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