Europa League Preview: Roma vs Milan – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Stadio Olimpico sets the stage for Thursday’s return leg of a mouth-watering Europa League quarter-final tie between Roma and Milan. Gianluca Mancini’s strike settled an evenly-contested first-leg affair at San Siro last week, handing Giallorossi a narrow 1-0 lead ahead of tomorrow’s crunch meeting. 

Last season’s Europa League runners-up could go one better if they can protect their advantage against old Serie A foes, especially with Atalanta on the verge of crashing Liverpool out of the competition. Daniele De Rossi’s side endured a heartbreaking weekend as Evan Ndicka collapsed on the pitch, forcing the referee to halt proceedings against Udinese.

Thankfully, the Ivorian defender is safe and sound despite a heart scare, allowing Roma to turn their attention to continental glory. They came agonizingly close to conquering the Europa League last term after lifting the Europa Conference League trophy in Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge. 

Recent European runs should keep momentum on Roma’s side. However, they can’t take anything for granted. Visiting Milan are still confident of winning the only missing piece of silverware in their storied continental history. As evidenced by their 3-3 draw at Sassuolo on Sunday, no deficit is out of reach for Stefano Pioli’s free-firing squad.

Milan hauled back Sassuolo’s two-goal cushion to avoid defeat at the Mapei Stadium, reminding their fans that they shouldn’t lose hope of a turnaround in this all-Italian Europa League tie.

Match Preview


Roma won at San Siro against the odds to snap a nine-game winless run against Milan. It was also their first away triumph against Rossoneri since 2017. But, progression into the semi-finals will not require another victory but merely a draw. Defensive soundness showcased by De Rossi’s side in recent games could go a long way to assuring a last-four berth.

Since a 1-0 Europa League loss at Brighton in the return leg of their dominant last-16 tie, Roma have gone four consecutive matches without conceding. Reminiscent of Mourinho’s days at the helm, all three wins in that sequence yielded a single-goal margin, including a 1-0 derby triumph against Lazio in their last outing at the Olimpico. 

De Rossi knows better than to let Roma’s defensive resurgence tuck him into a false sense of security. It’s been a while since Giallorossi last celebrated a home shutout against Milan. It was in December 2016 when Luciano Spalletti’s side edged Rossoneri out 1-0. 


Since their last scoring blank at the Olimpico, Milan have found the net in seven successive away clashes against Roma. Moreover, just one of those seven meetings ended in defeat, with Pioli’s troops claiming four victories, including a 2-1 win in Serie A action last September. 

Statistics show Milan deserved at least one goal in the first leg. They attempted 25 shots and hit the woodwork en route to their first scoreless appearance against Roma since October 2017. Further confidence comes from their awe-inspiring record of losing just one of their last six away European games to fellow Italian rivals (W2, D3).

However, an unwanted piece of history is hovering over Rossoneri’s heads ahead of this trip. Losing the first leg at home has led to eliminations from their last eight two-legged knockout ties in major European competition. But four consecutive away wins before the abovementioned draw against Sassuolo suggest maybe it’s time for a change of scenery.

Team News

In addition to Ndicka, Roma will be without long-term absentee Sardar Azmoun and suspended Bryan Cristante. With Dean Huijsen and Rasmus Kristensen omitted from the club’s squad list for the knockout stages, Chris Smalling is the leading candidate to fill the Ivorian’s shoes.

As for Milan, Tommaso Pobega and Pierre Kalulu are still out. Simon Kjaer picked up an injury at the weekend and will watch the game from the stands. Mike Maignan will start between the sticks after missing out on Sunday’s trip to Emilia-Romagna, handing Pioli a massive defensive boost.

Roma vs Milan Potential Lineups

Roma (4-3-3): Mile Svilar; Zeki Celik, Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, Leonardo Spinazzola; Edoardo Bove, Leandro Paredes, Lorenzo Pellegrini; Paulo Dybala, Romelu Lukaku, Stephan El Shaarawy. 

Milan (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Matteo Gabbia, Theo Hernandez; Ismael Bennacer, Tijjani Reijnders; Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.

Roma vs Milan Prediction

With only two of Roma’s last nine home outings in the Europa League seeing both teams on the scoresheet, scoring the opening goal could determine Thursday’s fixture. If Milan can draw first blood, they’ll make the comeback possible. 

But De Rossi’s men have been watertight at the back, and we back them to hold onto their slender lead.

Prediction: Draw (Roma to progress as aggregate winners)

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