Roma ready to stop AC Mi­lan win­ter es­cape

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

ROMA are the only team stand­ing be­tween AC Mi­lan and a win­ter es­cape as Serie A gets ready to shut down for the Christ­mas hol­i­day pe­riod.

Mi­lan al­ready lead the ta­ble by six points with Ju­ven­tus, Napoli and Lazio all level in the chase to re­join the lead­ers.

And those teams, as well as Roma them­selves, cham­pi­ons In­ter Mi­lan and even Palermo, will all be hop­ing that Roma can knock over the Ros­soneri and re-ig­nite the ti­tle race.

How­ever, to do so they will have to find a way of stop­ping the cur­rent in-form striker in the league, Mi­lan’s Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic.

The big Swede, who has pre­vi­ously played for Ju­ven­tus and In­ter, is aim­ing at big things with his team­mates.

“We want to win ev­ery­thing, that’s nor­mal. We have three ob­jec­tives – the league, the Cham­pi­ons League and the Ital­ian Cup,” he said.

Ibrahi­movic al­ready won the Serie A ti­tle five times in a row be­fore mov­ing to Barcelona last sea­son and win­ning the Span­ish crown there as well.

Be­fore mov­ing to Italy he also won the Dutch league with Ajax, mak­ing that seven ti­tles in a row.

How­ever, his first two in Italy with Ju­ven­tus were re­scinded due to the cal­ciopoli match-fix­ing scan­dal.

Even so, this is a man who knows in­side out the at­mos­phere at a suc­cess­ful tro­phy­win­ning club, but Ibrahi­movic claims he’s never felt bet­ter than at Mi­lan.

“In these last few months I’ve seen the great tra­di­tion here. I have a great re­la­tion­ship with my team-mates, we help each other,” he said.

Not only do Mi­lan have Ibrahi­movic and his strike part­ner Robinho, who has also been in fine goalscor­ing form re­cently, but ac­cord­ing to the big Swede, the re­turn of mid­field gen­eral Gen­naro Gat­tuso from in­jury this week­end will be cru­cial.

How­ever, Roma are the team who fin­ished run­ners-up in four of the last five sea­sons be­hind In­ter and their pres­i­dent Rosella Sensi in­sists they should not feel be­lit­tled by Mi­lan.

They also boast striker Marco Bor­riello, the man sold by Mi­lan to make way for Ibrahi­movic at the start of the sea­son.

And Sensi ad­mit­ted he is likely to be chomp­ing at the bit ahead of this game.

“He’s a great pro­fes­sional but he’ll prob­a­bly be ea­gerly ex­pect­ing this oc­ca­sion,” she said.

“We’re ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive. Last year was a feat, noone ex­pected us to come back the way we did es­pe­cially against In­ter with all their great play­ers.

“But our squad this year is ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive, I can’t pre­dict any­thing but I can say that we have the po­ten­tial.”

Roma can’t af­ford to lose if they are to har­bour hopes of win­ning the ti­tle this sea­son, though, as they are al­ready 10 points be­hind Mi­lan.

And if they do man­aged to get a re­sult, Juve will be look­ing to take ad­van­tage as they travel to in­con­sis­tent Chievo.

Lazio will also be ex­pect­ing to win at home to Udi­nese while Napoli, buoyed by their qual­i­fi­ca­tion to the Europa League knock-out phase, will hope they can beat lowly Lecce and close the gap.

As for In­ter, they run the risk of drop­ping to 16 points off the pace (al­beit with two games in hand) if Mi­lan do win. – Sapa-AFP

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