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Europa League – AS Roma vs. AC Milan: Preview & Predicted Lineups

RomaPress Staff
I

The atmosphere in Italy’s capital will be electric tomorrow evening when Roma host Milan at the Stadio Olimpico for the return leg of their Europa League quarterfinal tie.

Despite dropping both league meetings this season, the Giallorossi pulled-out a narrow 1-0 win in the first leg thanks to Gianluca Mancini’s headed goal midway through the first half. It marked Roma’s first win over Milan since 2019 and gives them a slim but potentially decisive advantage entering Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Rossoneri hope to bounce back from last week’s home defeat—just their second of 2024—on top of Sunday’s frustrating 3-3 league draw to Sassuolo.

The winner of the tie advances to face-off against either West Ham United or newly crowned German champions Bayer Leverkusen in the semifinals. Kick-off is slated for 21.00 CET at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Roma

Holding a narrow lead prior to kick-off, Roma find themselves just 90 minutes away from a reaching a third consecutive European semifinal in as many seasons.

The capital club won’t be short on confidence given Thursday’s return leg is at home—where they’ve proven formidable all season. In fact, the Giallorossi have lost just two of the 22 games they’ve played at the Stadio Olimpico this season (W16, D4, 2L) across all competitions. Additionally, Roma advanced from each of their last six knockout ties in major European competitions when they have played the second leg at home.

“Milan will fight with everything they have. This is their last resort, they want to win and achieve one of their objectives for the season. It will be difficult,” manager Daniele De Rossi told reporters prior to the game.

“There are characteristics of the opponent that must always be respected, plus you have to consider the opposing manager’s decisions. The first leg with Milan was quite balanced, perhaps it went a bit better for us.”

Adding, “However, Milan won’t change their tactics too much, so we can’t overthink our own gameplan.”

As for his squad selection, De Rossi and Roma breathed a sigh of relief after Evan Ndicka was given a clean bill of health following his collapse during Sunday’s postponed league fixture against Udinese. After serving a one-match suspension in the first leg, the Ivorian still isn’t available to face Milan, though he’s widely expected to return in the coming weeks.

Luckily for Roma, Ndicka’s absence was hardly felt last week thanks to a superb performance by veteran defender Chris Smalling. Although his campaign has been marred by injuries, the ex-Manchester United man put on a defensive clinic at San Siro.

De Rossi is hoping the same can be said for midfielder Edoardo Bove. The youngster will be given the tall task of replacing one of Roma’s most consistent and relied-upon pieces in Bryan Cristante, who must also serve a one-game ban.

Milan

As for the visitors, the scenario is simple for Milan: win or go home. While obviously a tall task, the Rossoneri’s historical European pedigree provides plenty of reason for optimism.

Entering the tie with a one-goal disadvantage, Stefano Pioli’s tactical choices and attitude will certainly be geared towards attacking and creating as many goalscoring opportunities as possible.

“We’ve got the utmost confidence and belief in ourselves,” Pioli stated during his pre-match press conference.

“I think we’ve got all the ingredients to have a great performance and to win. The first leg doesn’t matter anymore, it does us no good to dwell on it. Clearly there’s certain things we must do better so we can give the opposition more problems.”

Adding, “But this is another game, a whole new 90 minutes that will require a lot of quality and energy on both sides.”

Luckily for him, Milan have a couple more options available for the game—most notably defender Fikayo Tomori. The Englishman is expected to pair in defence alongside Matteo Gabbia, who’s favored to start over Malick Thiaw, while Rafael Leao, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud spearhead their attack.

Predicted Lineups

ROMA (4-3-3): Svilar; Celik, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Bove, Paredes, Pellegrini; El Shaarawy, Lukaku, Dybala

Unavailable: Rasmus Kristensen, Dean Huijsen, Evan Ndicka, Bryan Cristante

MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Gabbia, Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Bennacer, Reijnders; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud

Unavailable: Simon Kjaer, Tommaso Pobega, Pierre Kalulu

Match Center

MatchDay 38
26 May 20:45
Empoli
EMP
Roma