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Apr 29, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Alberto Braglia
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Doumbia (6'), Florenzi (27'), Pjanic (74')

Preview: Sassuolo vs. Roma

Sports Mole takes a closer look at both sides ahead of Wednesday's Serie A clash between Sassuolo and Roma.

Roma continue their bid for Champions League qualification on Wednesday evening when they travel to the Mapei Stadium to take on Sassuolo.

Victories are crucial as Roma look to clinch a place in Serie A's top three, while Sassuolo will be looking for a result which could send them on a run of good form in the closing stages of the campaign.


Nicola Sansone of Sassuolo scores the goal 2-1 during the Serie A match between US Sassuolo Calcio and Parma FC at Mapei Stadium on March 15, 2015© Getty Images

Finishing in any spot above the bottom three is surely considered a successful season by Sassuolo fans, but with relegation an unrealistic threat, the pressure is on Eusebio Di Francesco to lead the side on an impressive run late in the campaign.

Sassuolo currently sit 12 points above 18th-placed Cagliari, and if they hit top form over the next few weeks, finishing as high as 11th could be a possibility for Di Francesco's squad.

In a season which has had highs and many lows, consistency has been the biggest problem and Sassuolo supporters would be forgiven for believing that climbing much higher in the table is unlikely.

Recent weeks have underlined the problems in the current squad, but a run of two wins in 11 games hasn't been enough to drag them back into trouble, and after surviving by just two points last year, that will come as a huge relief to the club's hierarchy.

The challenge to get back to top form against Roma is a difficult one, but a morale-boosting performance could be the key to a strong finish to the season.

Recent form: WLWWDW


Francesco Totti #10 with his teammates of AS Roma celebrates after scoring the opening goal from penalty spot during the Serie A match between AS Roma and Atalanta BC at Stadio Olimpico on April 19, 2015© Getty Images

As the pressure grows on Rudi Garcia, the need for a victory is greater than ever as Roma look to boost their bid for Champions League qualification.

Frustrating draws with Torino and Atalanta were followed by a 2-1 defeat to Inter Milan at the weekend as the Giallorossi conceded a late goal to Mauro Icardi to invite more pressure from fourth-placed Napoli.

A third match without a win left Roma a point behind fierce rivals Lazio and just two ahead of a resurgent Napoli side, and the optimism which surrounded their title bid at the start of the campaign feels like a long time ago.

Failure to deliver a spot in the Champions League could see Garcia's future come into question this summer, but he remains in control of the team's destiny with six games remaining.

Some of the focus is already turning to a potentially season-defining game with Lazio on the penultimate matchday of the campaign, and Garcia will be hopeful of gaining momentum over the next few weeks.

However, delivering an extended run of good results is easier said than done for a side that have not won three successive matches in all competitions since September.

Recent form: LWWDDL

Team News

AS Roma French coach Rudi Garcia gestures during their Italian Serie A football match against Sampdoria in Rome's Olympic stadium on February 16, 2014© Getty Images

Roma have no new injury concerns to worry about, but Garcia could still make changes as he looks for a reaction to three disappointing results.

Francesco Totti could be one of the weekend's starters to drop to the bench, and Juan Iturbe and Seydou Doumbia are both pushing to replace the veteran forward.

Sliti Taider may be recalled to the Sassuolo midfield after missing out against Hellas Verona, while Antonio Floro Flores is also bidding for a start following his goal in Sunday's defeat.

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli, Cannavaro, Peluso, Acerbi, Longhi, Biondini, Missiroli, Daider, Zaza, Sansone, Berardi

Roma possible starting lineup:
De Sanctis, Holebas, Yanga-Mbiwa, Manolas, Florenzi, De Rossi, Nainggolan, Pjanic, Iturbe, Ibarbo, Gervinho

Head To Head

Adem Ljajic came to Roma's rescue with a 93rd-minute equaliser as both he and Simone Zaza scored braces in a thrilling 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture between the two sides back in December.

Since earning promotion to Serie A in 2013, Sassuolo have managed to earn two draws against Roma but are still waiting for their first victory.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Sassuolo 0-2 Roma

Relegation no longer seems to be a realistic threat to Sassuolo, and playing without pressure could suit Di Francesco's side. However, Roma have much more to play for and they should return to form with a comfortable victory.

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Roma's forward Francesco Totti celebrates after scoring a goal during their Serie A football match Verona vs AS Roma at Bentegodi Stadium in Verona, on February 22, 2015
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