Hassan Chamas

What: Italian Serie A
Who: AS Roma (3rd; 51 points) versus AC Milan (2nd; 54 points)
When: Saturday 6th March, 2010, at 20:45 CET
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy

Top-Two Finish

A the start of the season, a high league finish in Italy’s top-tier football was something of a distant dream for Roma, especially should one consider the resurgence of Juventus at the beginning of the season and the tussle between AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, Sampdoria and Napoli for the remaining pieces of the league pie.

However, recent victories for 2001’s Scudetto winners propelled them all the way to second place, a standing that they only conceded to AC Milan last week following the capital club’s draw with Napoli. That said, the Giallorossi will have a chance to reclaim the runners-up position as they come up against none other than Milan themselves in this weekend’s much-anticipated Serie A fixture.

Broken Duck

Some Milan fans would have gladly swapped their victory over Atalanta for Alexandre Pato’s wellness. “The Duck” was injured last weekend, meaning that he will miss crucial encounters with Roma and most of all, the deciding match with Manchester United in the Champions League next week.

Elsewhere, things have been going rather smoothly for the Milanese giants, as they managed three successive victories following their setback loss to Manchester United at the San Siro, wins that crucially placed them just four points shy of leaders Internazionale. As such, Scudetto hopes are back in the air for Leonardo’s team.

Recent form

AS Roma:
Roma 1-0 Catania (Serie A)
Roma 2-3 Panathinaikos (Europa League)
Napoli 2-2 Roma (Serie A)

AC Milan:
Bari 0-2 Milan (Serie A)
Fiorentina 1-2 Milan (Serie A)
Milan 3-1 Atalanta (Serie A)

Key absences

AS Roma: Julio Sergio; Francesco Totti

AC Milan: Oguchi Onyewu; Clarence Seedorf; Luca Antonini; Alexandre Pato; Gennaro Gattuso (suspension)

Players to watch

AS Roma – Daniele De Rossi: With club captain Totti not expected to be back any time soon, De Rossi will have to step up and lead Claudio Ranieri’s team by example. His play dictation will be crucial should Roma want to come up with full marks against Milan.

AC Milan – Ronaldinho: The Brazilian will have a lot at stake this Saturday, as a strong showing against Roma will be the clearest message that he is indeed back to his talismanic best, and the true maestro of this Milan side. More importantly, he will have his chance to show Brazil coach Dunga that his national team snub is a mistake.

Match prediction

The tussle for second spot should be quite a match this Saturday. Both teams enter the match following recent impressive showings. However, Milan at this point won’t settle for anything less than second place, and with the Scudetto race wide open again, expect them to come out on top with a 2-0 win.


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