Roma will host Milan at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday, April 25 (11:45 AM Pacific), in a very important game for the rossoneri in order to get a place in the next UEFA Europa League.
Roma have the second place – which means the qualification for the Champions League group stage – guaranteed, since they’re 14 points above the third Napoli with 4 games to play. They are eight points behind the leader Juventus, and although it’s almost impossible for them to win the scudetto
The Giallorossi are in a great moment after winning seven matches in a row. Their last defeat was against Napoli at San Paolo stadium on February 8. Playing at home, they didn’t lose in Serie A in the whole season, with 14 wins and 3 ties.
For this match the manager Rudi Garcia can’t rely on the striker Mattia Destro, who was banned for three matches after punching Davide Astori from Cagliari (this one is the last of the three games so he can return in the next match against Catania).
Moreover, defender Mehdi Benatia is out due to a hamstring injury, as well as Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury and will be out of the pitch for at least five months – he’ll miss the World Cup too.
On the other hand, after a bad beginning of the season, AC Milan are currently in a great moment a great moment after winning their last five games. They’re fighting for a place in the next UEFA Europa League, as they share the sixth place with Parma with 51 points, five behind Inter and only two above Lazio, Torino and Hellas Verona, so it seems that qualifying will be a very tough task for every team.
Since the champion of the Italian Cup gets a place in the Europa League, and the finalists are Napoli and Fiorentina – 3rd and 4th in the Serie A, both are currently in qualification zone –, everything indicates that the team which finishes in the sixth position will qualify (ordinarily it will be only up to the fifth).
But in case that Milan and Parma finish the tournament in the positions they’re now, the Crociati would get the place in Europa League since they’ve beaten Milan in the two matches this tournament, so the rossoneri need to win points in order to finish the season in the sixth or fifth place, at least one point above Parma.
Besides, Milan will host Inter in the derby next weekend and if they get good results on that match as well as on Friday, and Inter loses against Napoli on Saturday, they would even reach the fifth position.
Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong is out due to suspension after seeing his 10th yellow card of the season. Furthermore, Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda (ankle) is in doubt, while Ghanaian Michael Essien came back to train after a three-week calf injury and he might play on Friday, although manager Clarence Seedorf maybe prefers not to risk him.
In my opinion this will be a great match, since both teams are in a great moment, with seven (Roma) or five (Milan) wins in a row. The rossoneri will give everything to win, since after a bad season they’re now with the opportunity of qualifying to Europa League, and it’s very important for a club like Milan to play in an European competition.
However, I think that Roma are better, as the league table shows, and I don’t believe that they’ll lose for the first time in the season playing at home, although Mattia Destro absence could be very important and it will surely benefit Milan. My prediction for this clash is a 1-1 tie.
TV Schedule: beIn Sports USA.