MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 11:51:47| >> :120:9556:9556:
Jul 2, 2020 at 8.45pm UK at Stadio Olimpico

Villar (68'), Ibanez (89')
Perotti (30')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Lasagna (12'), Nestorovski (78')
Zeegelaar (11'), Okaka (45+2')

Preview: Roma vs. Udinese - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Serie A clash between Roma and Udinese, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two teams with contrasting aims ahead of the final run-in in Serie A face off at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday as top-four chasing Roma welcome relegation-threatened Udinese.

Roma have had a mixed time of things since returning to action and are nine points off fourth, while Udinese are three points above the dropzone following back-to-back defeats.

Match preview

Roma attacker Justin Kluivert pictured in November 2019© Reuters

After seeing off Sampdoria 2-1 in their first game back thanks to Edin Dzeko's second-half brace, Roma simply did not turn up in their big clash with AC Milan last weekend.

Not helped by the kickoff time in the sweltering conditions, Paulo Fonseca's side barely managed to trouble Gianluigi Donnarumma and deservedly fell to a 2-0 loss at San Siro.

That brought an end to a three-match winning streak for Roma in the Italian top flight, either side of the three-month hiatus, and could well prove to be a costly defeat.

Atalanta BC won for a sixth league game in a row later on Sunday and are now nine points better off than the Giallorossi in the race for the final Champions League qualifying spot.

Roma are nine points clear of Parma in eight, meanwhile, so it is looking increasingly likely as though Fonseca's men will be contesting in the Europa League next season - unless they go all the way in this season's competition.

A positive set of midweek results could change all that, however, and this is a fixture that Roma certainly tend to do well in.

Roma forward Cengiz Under pictured in February 2020© Reuters

They boast a 100% record against Udinese in their last six home league meetings and have scored in each of their last 13 such encounters, netting 33 times in total.

Udinese are also winless in five league matches, losing three of those. Indeed, no team has won fewer games on their travels this term in Serie A than the Bianconeri.

Luca Gotti's men have lost to Torino and Atalanta in their first two games back following the three-month layoff, making it nine games without a win in the league.

They now have only a three-point buffer on Lecce in 18th place and still have Roma, Lazio, Napoli and Juventus to face in their final 10 matches.

Given that they are winless in their last five away games against opponents starting the day in the top five, it looks like things will get worse before they get any better.

Roma's Serie A form: LLWWWL
Roma's form (all competitions): WWDWWL

Udinese's Serie A form: DDDDLL

Team News

Roma's Lorenzo Pellegrini celebrates after scoring against Lazio in September 2018© Reuters

Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini have incurred automatic suspensions after picking up yellow cards against Milan last weekend.

Fonseca is expected to turn to Gonzalo Villar and Javier Pastore in their absence, while Bruno Peres and Aleksandar Kolarov - left on the bench last time out - are pushing for recalls at full-back.

Roma midfielder Diego Perotti has scored four goals in eight games against Udinese - more than against any other opponent in Serie A - and will be hopeful of starting this one.

As for Udinese, Rolando Mandragora is their only confirmed injury absentee after leaving the field early in the recent defeat to Torino.

Gotti will welcome Rodrigo de Paul back from suspension, however, with Mato Jajalo the favourite to drop out.

Stefano Okaka will be looking to make a positive impression against his former club, having scored only two goals in 34 league appearances for Roma across several spells with the club between 2004 and 2011.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Mirante; Peres, Mancini, Smalling, Kolarov; Cristante, Villar; Under, Pastore, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Maio, Nuytinck, Samir; Larsen, De Paul, Walace, Fofana, Sema; Lasagna, Okaka

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Roma 2-0 Udinese

Roma looked poor against Milan last time out and their top-four hopes are now hanging by a thread. Udinese have not picked up a victory in any competition since the first half of January, though, and it is unlikely that they will end that run in the Italian capital on Thursday.

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United StatesUnited States16171245
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Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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