Roma miss Totti for showdown with Manchester United

April 1st, 2008 - 12:33 pm ICT by admin  

Milan, April 1 (DPA) For Serie A football club Roma there could be no worse moment to lose captain Francesco Totti than the run-up to a quarter final Champions League match with Manchester United. The striker drilled home a free kick at the weekend to help Roma salvage a 1-1 draw at lowly Cagliari, but began grimacing later in the game as he felt a pain in his left thigh.

Rest will be his main therapy as he hopes to be ready for the return match in England April 9 against the Premier League leaders.

For Roma, the game is a further chance to avenge last year’s elimination suffered at the same stage through a 7-1 drubbing at Old Trafford that cancelled the red-yellows’ 2-1 win at home.

There was more balance in the group-phase matches played during the current tournament, with United winning 1-0 at home and settling for a 1-1 draw in Rome.

“Roma exalted themselves against Real Madrid (in the first knock-out round) and will have to do the same with the Red Devils,” coach Luciano Spalletti said.

“These are particular games, when players can give a little more than what they have inside, because there is great participation and expectation. Under the emotional aspect, we’ll have to watch and be careful because there are balances that are crucial for my team to show their creativity.”

Spalletti also misses the suspended Simone Perrotta in midfield, but welcomes back international midfielder Daniele De Rossi and will use Montenegro Mirko Vucinic upfront.

United, meanwhile, are without the injured midfielder Darren Fletcher and long-time missing defenders Mikael Silvestre and Gary Neville.

Alex Ferguson, however, can rely on the good form of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, both on target on the weekend in a 4-0 crushing of Aston Villa.

Ronaldo brought his top-scorer tally to 26 goals, while Rooney rounded off the win with a brace that boosted his morale ahead of the trip to Rome.

“Roma is going to be a massive game for us and we prepared the right way with the win against Villa,” Rooney said.

Beside the great show expected on the pitch, troubles could come from hooligans, who will be on strict control from police after marring previous games between the two sides.

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