After a close-fought contest in Rotterdam last week, Roma and Feyenoord reconvene on Thursday evening, when they conclude their Europa League quarter-final tie at Stadio Olimpico.
With a 1-0 win at De Kuip, the Eredivisie leaders took a step towards eliminating the team that denied them victory in last year’s Europa Conference League final, but Jose Mourinho’s men won a third straight Serie A game without conceding at the weekend and can be tough customers on home soil.
Though Jose Mourinho has been troubled by the fitness of his first-choice forwards, it is expected that Paulo Dybala – Roma’s joint-top Europa League scorer, on three goals – will return in time to feature on Thursday. Tammy Abraham seems to have shrugged off a shoulder injury suffered in Rotterdam, but Ola Solbakken and ex-Feyenoord man Rick Karsdorp remain unavailable.
Georginio Wijnaldum began his professional career with Thursday’s visitors, scoring 25 goals in 135 appearances for the club between 2007 and 2011, and will seek promotion to the starting X after being consigned to a second-half cameo at De Kuip.
After being rested at the weekend, Nemanja Matic and Roger Ibanez should return to the lineup, with Diego Llorente and Stephan El Shaarawy among those dropping out.
Feyenoord, meanwhile, welcomed back first-choice goalkeeper Justin Bijlow from a wrist injury for the first leg and he will start again in Rome.
Arne Slot’s midfield trio will be led by captain Orkun Kokcu, and the only significant dilemma for the Dutch league leaders comes on their right flank, where Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Igor Paixao vie for selection – the former started against Roma last week; the latter was picked on Sunday.
Once more, Quinten Timber is Slot’s only injury absentee and the former AZ coach will send his side out in their familiar 4-3-3 formation.
Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Zalewski, Matic, Wijnaldum, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, Dybala; Abraham
Feyenoord possible starting lineup:
Bijlow; Geertruida, Trauner, Hancko, Hartman; Kokcu, Wieffer, Szymanski; Jahanbakhsh, Gimenez, Idrissi
Prediction: Roma 1-0 Feyenoord (Feyenoord win on penalties)
Recent masters of winning without conceding, Roma will fancy their chances of cancelling out their deficit at a sold-out Stadio Olimpico, but overall victory could ultimately prove beyond them.
With a talented squad and a winning mentality, it could instead be Feyenoord who will face either Bayer Leverkusen or Union Saint-Gilloise in next month’s semi-finals.