What: Italian Serie A
Who: AC Milan vs Roma
When: Sunday 12th May, 2013, at 19:45 UK Time
Where: San Siro, Milan, Italy

Crucial Win

With two rounds to go in the Italian league, a victory for AC Milan over capital side Roma would secure third position for the seven-time Champions League winners, as they are four points clear of fourth-placed Fiorentina. However, the Giallorossi have won three times during their last six visits to the San Siro, and will undoubtedly cause Milan problems, despite their lower standing.

Milan’s three consecutive wins have allowed them to practically secure the last qualification spot for next season’s Champions League. Furthermore, the home side are undefeated in ten of their last eleven games at the San Siro in Serie A action, making the upcoming bout a difficult one for Roma, who will be hoping that Massimiliano Allegri’s team will be missing a few men on the occasion, namely star striker Mario Balotelli, who will face a late fitness test in order to evaluate his readiness for the big game.

One player that will surely miss this one is Riccardo Montolivo, as the ex-Fiorentina midfielder nurses a muscle tear in his leg. Montolivo’s presence has been crucial for Milan and their revival hopes, and the Rossoneri will be thankful that their season will effectively be over should they come up with all the spoils against the 2001 Scudetto winners.

Late Surge

For the Giallorossi, the two remaining games represent a chance for the side to qualify for next season’s Europa League, as they are just two points shy of fifth-placed Udinese. Away from home, Roma hold the fourth-best league record with eight wins in eighteen games, but they know that a lot will be required from their part should they want to come away with a win.

Simply put, their adversaries have had a wonderful revival in the second half of the season, making hay with 38 points from 17 games, a record surpassed only by recently-crowned league champions Juventus. Away from home Roma have the third best attack in the league with 31 goals, but also one of the worst defences, as they have conceded 32 strikes.

Despite winning the reverse encounter 4-2 at the Stadio Olimpico in December, Milan have nonetheless managed to score at least two goals against them in the last three games that pitted the two sides together. Anything other than a win for Roma could be the final nail in their continental aspirations for next season.

Recent form

AC Milan:
AC Milan 4-2 Catania (28/04; Serie A)
AC Milan 1-0 Torino (05/05; Serie A)
Pescara 0-4 AC Milan (08/05; Serie A)

Roma 4-0 Siena (28/04; Serie A)
Fiorentina 0-1 Roma (04/05; Serie A)
Roma 0-1 Chievo (07/05; Serie A)

Key absences

AC Milan: Luca Antonini (doubt); Daniele Bonera (doubt); Ignazio Abate (doubt); Mario Balotelli (doubt); Riccardo Montolivo; Bojan Krkic; Nigel de Jong

Roma: Maarten Stekelenburg

Players to watch

AC Milan – Stephan El Shaarawy: The promising Italian has been Milan’s best player this term, scoring 16 goals in 35 league games so far. The formidable trident, with El Shaarawy up front alongside Balotelli and M’Baye Niang is already showing a lot of promise and the trio will undoubtedly continue next term.

Roma – Francesco Totti: Il Capitane’s fairy tale continues this season, with his ageing legs not enough to keep him out of the big picture. As such, he has 12 goals and 12 assists in 33 league games, and that is a tally that he will want to increase against Milan.

Match Prediction

The Diavoli are within ninety minutes of achieving their goal for the current season. At home at the San Siro and in front of their own fans, they will get the win they need. AC Milan 2-0 Roma.

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