AS Roma will be keen to overturn a 1-0 deficit in their UEFA Europa League clash against Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday.

Italian giants AS Roma saw their unbeaten run against Austrian sides come to an end last week at Red Bull Salzburg. Jose Mourinho’s side will now seek to overturn a 1-0 deficit in front of their own fans.

The capital side are no strangers to strong second legs. They defeated Barcelona 3-0 in 2018 before putting ear into Liverpool the same season. While this week’s task will not be that hard, Roma will rely on home support to urge them beyond the finish line.

Mourinho has won the competition twice, once with FC Porto in 2003 (then the UEFA Cup) and more recently with Manchester United (in 2017). Securing a third title will see him share laurels with a select list of great managers and also further enhance his managerial legacy.

However, there is still a long way to go for Roma to secure their second major European trophy. Mourinho’s position at Stadio Olimpico is under threat, and his players appear to have his back. The Portuguese tactician often thrives in adversity and could channel it onto Roma’s performances on the field.

The Italians have struggled for goals this year and cannot afford to draw a blank once again. With Tammy Abraham and Paulo Dybala potentially out and Lorenzo Pellegrini lacking full fitness, a lot will be expected of the reserves who will be brought in.

The higher Roma push for a goal, the more space it will leave behind them for Salzburg to exploit. The Austrians have shown themselves to be dangerous opponents, and it is in Roma’s best interests to grab an early goal. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they could employ.

Team News & Tactics

AS Roma

Jose Mourinho will welcome back Lorenzo Pellegrini, who missed the weekend’s clash against Hellas Verona with an injury. The skipper’s return will be a shot in the arm for a Roma side that will be keen to go deep in the competition.

Meanwhile, Paulo Dybala continues to train alone as he aims to recover from a muscle overload. While Roma remain optimistic about him featuring on the night, it would appear to be a case of touch and go as things stand.

Star striker Tammy Abraham suffered an eye injury against Hellas Verona and is unlikely to start on the night. Considering his side that has failed to find the back of the net seven times in 11 games this year, Mourinho will hope that the Englishman who was pictured in training to come off the bench if required.

Rui Patricio is likely to start in goal behind the back three of Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling and Roger Ibanez. Nemanja Matic was rested at the weekend and should return to the lineup alongside Bryan Cristante in central midfield, giving Leonardo Spinazzola and Nicola Zalewski the freedom on the wings.

Stephan El Shaarawy and Lorenzo Pellegrini should be deployed as dual number tens, with Andrea Belotti leading the attack. Dybala is likely to make the bench should he be cleared to play.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Zalewski, Cristante, Matic, Spinazzola; El Shaarawy, Pellegrini; Belotti

AS Roma vs RB Salzburg Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats.

Red Bull Salzburg

The Austrian Bundesliga leaders have the momentum going into the game and will be hopeful of catching Roma cold once again. However, they could play right into the Italian giants’ hands should they adopt a defensive approach targeted at protecting the one-goal lead.

Matthias Jaissle has a fully-fit squad at his disposal and is likely to retain most of his starters from the first leg. He is likely to tweak his midfield and set up a counter-attacking style of football.

Philipp Kohn should start in goal behind the back four of Amar Dedic, Oumar Solet, Strahinja Pavlovic and Andreas Ulmer. Lucas Gourna-Douath is likely to be deployed in a sweeping role in midfield, alongside Nicolas Seiwald and Nicolas Capaldo.

Luka Sucic should don the attacking midfielder’s role and will be tasked with feeding the ball to Noah Okafor and Fernando. Maurits Kjaergaard was impressive for Salzburg at the weekend and has an outside shot of making a surprise appearance.

Benjamin Sesko continues to struggle but could be brought on if the visitors are trailing. The youngster will certainly offer something different in attack and could surprise Jose Mourinho and co.

Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Kohn; Dedic, Solet, Pavlovic, Ulmer; Capaldo, Gourna-Douath, Seiwald; Sucic; Fernando, OkaforAS Roma vs RB Salzburg Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats.

Key Stats

  • Red Bull Salzburg and AS Roma will be facing off against each other for the second time in their history in a competitive fixture. The Austrians won the first leg 1-0. AS Roma suffered their first-ever loss to an Austrian side against Salzburg in the reverse fixture earlier this month.
  • AS Roma have found the back of the net in 33 of their last 34 European games across all competitions. The 33-game run came to an end against RB Salzburg in the first leg.
  • The last time Red Bull Salzburg were knocked out of a two-legged fixture in Europe (Excluding Qualifiers) after winning the first leg was against RSC Anderlecht in 1997/98.
  • Red Bull Salzburg are currently on a five-game winless streak away to Italian sides. Their last win in the nation came in 2009 against SS Lazio.
  • AS Roma are unbeaten in their last 13 home games in the knockout stages of European competitions (Excluding Qualifiers). The last reversal at home came against Villarreal in 2017.

Player to Watch

Andrea Belotti

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The Italian ace has struggled to make much of an impact at Roma and has a mere three goals in his first 26 appearances for the club across all competitions. However, with Tammy Abraham ruled out, Belotti has the opportunity to shine when it matters.

Roma have lacked bite up front all season, and the situation has turned rather dire since the turn of the year. With Paulo Dybala also struggling to get fit, Mourinho will be hard-pressed for inspiration going forward. Stephan El Shaarawy and the fit-again Lorenzo Pellegrini have their moments and craft chances.

But all eyes will be on just how clinical Belotti is in the six years area. A quick goal will more or less swing the pendulum in Roma’s favour and give them the initiative to go all out for the win. As long as Belotti turns up, Mourinho can breathe a sigh of relief.


AS Roma 1-1 Red Bull Salzburg

Red Bull Salzburg will have their tails up following the first-leg win and will be keen to start strongly. However, Stadio Olimpico is not an easy stadium to visit, especially when the AS Roma fans are in full voice.

As long as the home side open the scoring on the night, they will seize the initiative. However, the game lasts for 90 minutes, and Red Bull Salzburg are more than capable of coming away with at least a draw. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw, with the visitors reaching the Round of 16.

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