Roma can stop recent rot with Europa League win over Viola
Roma will be trying to beat Fiorentina for the fourth attempt across all competitions in 2015 when they welcome the Viola to the Stadio Olimpico in this Europa League last 16 second leg. Familiarity between these two Italian rivals may have bred contempt, and the Giallorossi are odds-on 10/11 favourites with Coral for victory in 90 minutes.
Although this tie is finely poised at 1-1, it is Rudi Garcia’s boys that hold a slender away goal advantage over Vincenzo Montella’s men. For Fiorentina to beat Roma, odds of 12/5 are available. A draw, meanwhile, is 9/4.
The Viola are weak in attack, however, as Mario Gomez, who has three goals in two outings against the Eternal City outfit already this year, remains sidelined by a thigh problem. Giuseppe Rossi is also a long-term injury absentee, leaving Montella short up front.
Potential engine room absences for the visitors, with Chilean pair Matias Fernandez and David Pizarro both doubtful through similar struggles to Gomez, gives Garcia’s Giallorossi a strong position.
Capital club Roma are definitively without one of their key midfielders, Radja Nainggolan, who is banned. Daniele De Rossi is also facing a fitness test on his ankle, plus there are defensive concerns over Leandro Castan, Kostas Manolas and Maicon.
With no senior out-and-out Fiorentina frontman to exploit this, young Khouma Babacar may get a chance. The 22-year-old Senegalese is a 2/1 anytime scorer chance, but there is another player at that price Montella and punters alike can have more faith in.
Mohamed Salah has been in outstanding form since being used a sweetener to persuade the Viola to sell Colombia counterpart Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea. The Egypt winger has six goals in his last eight across all competitions, so back Salah to score anytime at tasty 2/1 odds.
Slovenia’s Joip Ilicic is the other alternative forward threat for Fiorentina, and he grabbed the opener in their home leg. It’s 8/1 he repeats that by drawing first blood again.
A sticky run of two wins in 15 matches across all competitions in 90 minutes means Roma can do better. Ex-Arsenal attacker Gervinho may be their hero here, with five European goals in nine outings, and is 7/4 to net again anytime.
Winter window signing Seydou Doumbia will give the Viola defence something physical to think about, and is 9/2 to net the opener on what would be just his second start since joining the Giallorossi.
Punters should expect a tense affair, and Roma look good value at 18/5 for victory and both teams being on target.