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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has sprung a surprise by including Louis Saha and Darren Fletcher in his squad to face Roma.

The pair have been out for five weeks with hamstring and ankle injuries respectively and were expected to play for the reserves on Thursday.

However, they have both travelled to Italy for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

Park Ji-Sung has been left behind because of an unspecified injury.

Defenders Gary Neville, Patrice Evra, Mikael Silvestre and Nemanja Vidic are all out of the tie, while Roma will be without midfielder David Pizarro, who is serving a one-match ban.

Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Heaton, O'Shea, Brown, Ferdinand, Heinze, Ronaldo, Scholes, Carrick, Fletcher, Eagles, Giggs, Richardson, Rooney, Saha, Solskjaer, Smith, Dong.



AS Roma and Manchester United have never met before in European competition.

Roma have hosted English clubs on 12 occasions, winning six, drawing four and losing twice (to Liverpool and Arsenal). Manchester United's only wins in Italy have been achieved against Juventus (2-3 in 1999 and 0-3 in 2003). United have lost eight of their 11 matches in Italy.

European history

AS Roma are playing in their 30th season of European competition, and their fourth in the Champions League. The best performance came in their second season, when they won the 1960-61 Fairs Cup, beating Birmingham City 4-2 on aggregate in the final.

Manchester United are playing in their 31st season of European competition and their 12th in the Champions League. They've won all three European finals they have reached, in the 1968 Champions Cup, the 1991 Cup Winners' Cup and the 1999 Champions League.

Current European form

AS Roma are unbeaten in their last nine home matches in European competition. Real Madrid were the last club to have beaten Roma in Rome (0-3) in December 2004.

The Italians have kept a clean sheet in their last three Champions League matches, and are one of only two clubs to reach this year's quarter finals having not won their group. Manchester United have won their last three Champions League matches and kept a clean sheet in the last two.

Player and disciplinary info

Roma's David Pizarro is suspended for this match. Eight players are one yellow card away from a suspension - Daniele De Rossi, Philippe Mexes, Simone Perrotta, Francesco Totti, Max Tonetto (all AS Roma) and Cristiano Ronaldo, Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes (Manchester United).

Roma's Daniele De Rossi, Simone Perrotta and Doni have played all eight of their CL matches so far this season. Doni is the only one of the trio to have played every minute. Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney have played in all eight of United's CL games. Only Van der Sar is yet to miss a minute.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can Roma shock Man Utd?
By Chris Bevan

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson feels his side's Champions League quarter-final against Roma is the toughest of all the last-eight ties.

Led by their talismanic striker Francesco Totti, the Italian side shocked Lyon with a 2-0 win in France in the last round and are confident of continuing their progress.

United travel to the Stadio Olimpico for the first leg on Wednesday before the return at Old Trafford on 10 April.

Roberto Maida, who covers Roma for Italian newspaper Corriere Dello Sport, explains how the tie will be won and lost.


For Roma's coach Luciano Spalletti and his players, this is the game of their lives.

It is unusual for Roma to get this far in this competition. It is the first time they have been here since the Champions League format began.

They are second in Serie A but they have lost sight of Inter, who are leading by 20 points, so everything at Roma is focused on the Champions League now.

They did not have a very good time in the competition this season until the win in Lyon - but that has brought it to life for them.

Fans queued for more than 24 hours to get tickets for the game against United and many still did not succeed.

After Lyon everybody here was convinced that Roma can win the Champions League.

United are fascinating opponents but nobody is scared of them. Roma will respect them, of course, but they do not fear them.


This is a chance for Totti to show the world that he was right to link himself to his home club for life.

Of course, he was a world champion with Italy last summer but he has won only one championship with Roma in his club career.

This season has been his chance to show his skill on a wider stage with his own club and he has been in superb form.

He is the highest goalscorer in Italy at the moment, with 18 goals in 28 Serie A games, and he has never led the standings before - and in Europe he has been scoring regularly too.

But he is an unusual striker because he moves a lot from the front. He comes to midfield to take the ball and sometimes he is more valuable as a creator than as a goalscorer.

For example, against AC Milan on Saturday he never looked dangerous in front of goal but he still did so much good for the team.

He put Simone Perrotta clean through with an amazing trick. He made something incredible and that is his strength - in one second he can create something that can change a game.


The win in Lyon was something of a consecration for the team and Spalletti's style.

Lyon felt they were sure to beat Roma easily and that was their big mistake.

They accepted the first leg in Rome with no goals because they were sure they could destroy Roma in Lyon.

But if you face Roma with an attacking approach and without considering their counter-attacking threat then you risk a lot.

Roma love to play on the counter-attack, with the speed of players like Simone Perotta, Alessandro Mancini, Rodrigo Taddei and Totti. They have a lot of fast players who can create problems.


Roma are expecting Ferguson to switch Cristiano Ronaldo from the right wing to the left during the games. They know stopping him will be very important.

Max Tonetto is the left-back who was supposed to mark Ronaldo when he is on the right side.

He has a hamstring injury and is not available for the first leg - and maybe won't recover for the second game either - so Christian Panucci, who is a good defender, will look after him on that flank.

But if he plays on the opposite side he will find Marco Cassetti, who is used as Roma's first-reserve defender.

Cassetti is not such a good player. He lacks some experience, especially in European games, but he played well in Lyon in the previous round so Spalletti is confident he will do well against United.


Player for player, United are stronger and superior technically.

But they will be in a difficult situation on Wednesday because they are missing a lot of defensive players through injury.

Roma's best chance will be to attack. They need to make the most of United's problems and take a little advantage for the second leg - because at Old Trafford it will be very difficult for them.

United play much better at home but, most important of all, is the fact that only a few Roma players have played at Old Trafford before and they could find it intimidating.

So to have a chance of progressing, Roma need to win the first leg at least 1-0 or 2-1.

They cannot rely on the counter-attack as much as they did against Lyon because Ferguson knows exactly how Roma will try to play.

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United are playing crap and we are once again suffering with Fergies Quarter Final Tactics!! Now Scholes has seen red (again) for needless useless tackling, we need Mr Miracle to get us out of this one. Unfortunately he does not play for us!

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't think we played badly. There were quite a few obstacles in our path. A great team rises to the occasion and overcomes hurdles, as we did against Blackburn over the weekend. Unfortunately, a number of things went wrong at Rome.

1. No Vidic or Neville - major loss to our defence as well as Gazza's leadership.
2. Scholes' sending off - getting a yellow card meant he missed the next UEFA match, but with a red card, I wonder if he'll miss the next three??

3. Sir Alex said this and I whole-heartedly agree: we were playing against 12 men. Say hello to AS Roma's newest squad member - Herbert Fandel (Ref). He was just atrocious. The pudgy little German made far too many bad decisions. Gaby Heinze's yellow card was stupidly given whereas he should have booked the Roma player for the foul. Also, when the ball was kicked away, a straight yellow was warranted but none was conveniently given.

4. The ballboys - AS Roma had balls ready at the corner arcs and at the touch line before the player could reach it. Contrast that with United's throws and you'll see that Roma had plenty of time to firm up their defence by the time a United player could lay his hands on the ball.

5. Fan support - or rather lack thereof. At the return leg, Old Trafford fans must sing their hearts out and ensure that our boys know that the fans are wholly behind the players. The Roma fans knew they were underdogs and displayed a lot of support and even more so when they had the numerical advantage. That made the players sit up and take notice and they never stopped pressing.

The away goal is vital. We must maintain a clean sheet and score at home. At a minimum, that's what will take us through. It would be ideal if Ronaldo resumes his scoring streak again, because ultimately that's what counts - goals in the back of the nets (theirs, not ours).

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Vidic and neville are a big miss at the moment, i would prefer to have evra at left back, gabbie centre back and brown right back at the moment, I hope evra is back soon.

What did you think of the Italian Police?

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Don't be so downbeat everyone. We got the important away goal and we will always score at Old Trafford. I would have taken 2-1 before the match, this is a good result. We may have lost Scholes for the next leg, but they've also lost Perrota. And remember we never had it easy in 1999 and we all know what happened that year .....

On the Police issue. I think the Italian police behaved like animals !!! :mad: The United fans didn't do anything that the Roma fans didn't, but once again Italian police over-react and turn on the away team. I hope UEFA punish them to the max !!!

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