FEATURES

29/03/2008 18:35, Report by Nick Coppack

Euro rivals: AS Roma

Stadium: Roma share the Stadio Olimpico with fierce rivals S.S. Lazio. An impressive ground built in 1936, the stadium holds 82,656 people. It hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics and the 1990 World Cup.

Manager: Luciano Spalletti's managerial career began with a bang when he led Empoli into Serie A with two successive promotions. He then had spells at Sampdoria, Venezia, Udinese (twice) and Ancona before joining Roma in 2005, where Spaletti is credited with transforming the team into an attacking force. His influence was recognised by the Italian FA when he won the prestigious Serie A Coach of the Year award in 2006.

Last season:
Roma finished second in Group D, two points behind Valencia and comfortably in front of Shakhtar Donetsk and Olympiacos. The Italians then disposed of French champions Lyon to progress to the quarter finals, where they met Manchester United. Things were looking up after a 2-1 win in the first leg, before the Reds demolished the Italians in the second leg with a 7-1 victory at Old Trafford. In a stunning display of attacking football, United roared into a four-goal lead by half-time. Further strikes from Michael Carrick, Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrice Evra capped a perfect night.

Last time we met: 12 December, 2007. AS Roma 1 United 1. With the Reds already assured of top spot in Group F, Sir Alex sent out a young side at the Stadio Olimpico. Gerard Pique powered United in front with a firm header from Nani's corner on 34 minutes, before Mancini drew the home side level on 71 minutes with an unstoppable shot past Tomasz Kuszczak. The Reds won the home match in Group F 1-0 courtesy of Wayne Rooney's fine goal.

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