Both Inter Milan and AS Roma are coming off tough defeats in the Champions League during the week and the challenge for both will be how they respond Sunday when they meet at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
But, despite dropping a 2-0 decision to Real Madrid midweek, Roma still managed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
On the other hand, Inter Milan suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium and will need help in the final group stage round to qualify.
Inter Milan news
After a lackluster performance in London midweek, Inter will be challenged to find the same offensive form that helped them to a 3-0 win against Frosinone last weekend.
Henrique Dalbert, Radja Nainggolan and Sime Vrsaljko are all likely out with injury, but that should be little concern for Luciano Spalletti’s side as Marcelo Brozovic will likely return to action in Rome.
“The team in London remained in the game right until the very end,” Spalletti said, in his pre-match news conference. “We created chances and we are still en-route to qualify. The gap with Roma? We’re putting pressure on ourselves because we’re not satisfied. We always want to go further.”
Additionally, the Nerazzurri will have Lautaro Martinez, Ivan Perisic, Brozovic and now Keita Balde — who scored a brace against Frosinone last weekend — for Roma’s questionable defense to contain.
Inter comes into Sunday’s match with a +15 goal differential — conceding just 10 goals while scoring 25.
Even with the knowledge that Roma will be without many of its key players, Spalletti said the side cannot be taken for granted.
“Teams like Tottenham, Roma and Inter all have strong squads so absences don’t weigh too heavily,” Spalletti said. “Even with 14 players available, I can put out a team that can win any match.”
The Nerazzurri are currently nine points behind Juventus in the league standings and have won nine of their first 13 domestic matches.
Projected lineup: Handanovic; Asamoah, Vrij, Skriniar, D’Ambrosio, Vecino, Brozovic, Perisic, Mario, Politano, Icardi.
Roma team news
Roma has been rocked with injuries this season as Edin Dxeko, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Daniele De Rossi and Stephan El Shaaraway are all out injured, while Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti are doubtful.
Roma have suffered consecutive defeats and, like Inter, have won just two of their last five matches.
In the league, Roma is 18 points back of Serie A-leading Juventus in seventh place. The capital club has won just five of its 13 league matches thus far while losing four and drawing four.
Eusebio Di Francesco has plenty to be worried about in addition to the injuries facing Roma. Patrik Schick, Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert are seeing more time on the pitch because of the injuries but have not necessarily lived up to expectations.
Considering that Inter only gives up an average of 12 shots per match in Serie A play, the offensive struggles for Roma could be their Achilles Heel Sunday.
A loss to the Nerazzurri, and more importantly, to Spalletti — who left Roma to join Inter two seasons ago — could go a long way to determining the fate of Di Francesco.
Projected lineup: Olsen; Kolarov, Manolas, Fazio, Florenzi, Cristante, Nzonzi, Kluivert, Zaniolo, Under, Schick.
Time and date: 20:30 p.m. (Rome) 2:30 p.m. (EST), Sunday, December 2, 2018
Where: Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
TV/Streaming: In the United States, you can watch the match on ESPN+. You can also listen to the match on ESPN Deportes Radio. In the United Kingdom, the match will be aired on Eleven Sports 2 UK. If you are in Italy, the match can be viewed on Sky Go Italia, Sky Supermercato HD and Sky Calcio 1.
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