No second chances for Roma at Juve
ROME: A home game against Inter Milan awaits second-place AS Roma on Sunday as they chase Serie A leaders Juventus who face cross-town rivals Torino on the same day.
All four teams will be back on the pitch from mid-week action on the continent.
Roma suffered a late 1-1 draw at CSKA Moscow while Juve won 2-0 at Malmo in the Champions League, leaving both with a chance to advance to the last 16.
Roma seem to have lost their early-season grit when they conceded a last-gasp equaliser in Moscow that complicated their qualification chances from Group E ahead of a final home game to Manchester City.
“Everything was perfect. We were ahead form a goal I scored,” said AS Roma captain Francesco Totti. “A great team should handle their ball possession better. It was as if I got a punch from (boxer Mike) Tyson. We were almost qualified.”
The Giallorossi go into the match at the Stadio Olimpico with 28 points from 12 games, three behind Juve.
Inter Milan are ninth on 17 points. The return of coach Roberto Mancini to replace Walter Mazzarri brought little improvement last weekend as the Nerazzurri drew 1-1 in a little entertaining derby with AC Milan.
“We have these two paths before us: Either finish the (Serie A) league among the top three (to get a Champions League berth), or win the Europa League. We must clinch one of the two,” Mancini said.
A place in the Champions League knock-out stage is almost clinched for Juve, who need just one point from the game tie at home to already qualified Atletico Madrid.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri, however, raised the stakes as he said that “we must try to win with a two-goal lead and finish first.”
City rivals Torino have lost the past two outings in domestic action, slipping to just three points above the drop zone.
Sassuolo open the 13th round tomorrow against Verona, followed by Chievo versus Lazio. The other Sunday games see Cesena at home to Genoa, AC Milan against Udinese, Cagliari taking on Fiorentina, Palermo against Parma and Empoli hosting Atalanta. Sampdoria host Napoli on Monday. – Sapa-dpa
ROMAN: AS Roma captain Francesco Totti will lead his team against Inter Milan at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday.