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Roma Face Crucial Clash in Champions League Chase at San Siro

This is probably the match that determines Roma’s Champions League fate.

AS Roma v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

When it’s this late in the season and there are Champions League spots still up for grabs, every match matters equally. One slip-up, even against a minnow, can doom your club’s chance to get back to the premier European tournament. However, to paraphrase George Orwell, some matches are more equal than others. Roma’s match tomorrow against Inter Milan is not only the most exciting match of match-day 33, it will also help dictate the future of Roma, Inter, Milan, Atalanta, Lazio, and Torino.

This year hasn’t been the best one that Romanisti or Interisti have seen in the recent past. Both clubs have consistently underplayed compared to the level of perceived talent in their sides, and although there have certainly been bright spots for both teams (the rise of Nicolo Zaniolo for Roma, the relatively smooth transition to Italian football for Lautaro Martinez), it doesn’t take that much pessimism to see the 2018-2019 season as a lost year for both clubs. Inter and Roma have rediscovered some semblance of stability as of late, with Roma’s ex-ninja Radja Nainggolan finally finding his form and Edin Dzeko finally finding the net at the Stadio Olimpico. Yet a poor result for either side in this match may send either club into a tailspin.

Last Match: A.S. Roma 2 - Inter Milan 2

Roma snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat the last time around, with a late penalty from Aleksandar Kolarov finishing up a comeback started by a beautiful rocket of a shot from Cengiz Under (remember him)? One could definitely argue that this draw extended the lifespan of Eusebio Di Francesco and Monchi at Roma, but as we know now, that was all for naught.

To quote our post-match coverage: “Certainly, Roma didn’t play well in the strictest sense. They barely had possession, particularly in the first half, and when they did, their finishing was awful, but still they did just enough to claw back into the match...twice, and that is sure to resonate with a certain section of the fanbase, if not the team or Pallotta himself.”

Well, I’m sure none of those things will happen again against Inter this time around!!

In all seriousness, with only five points separating fourth-place Milan and eighth-place Torino, you can bet your bottom dollar that these next few weeks of matches will be incredibly hard-fought. Claudio Ranieri also has to know that if he pulls fourth place out of his hat, continued employment may be in the cards. Luciano Spalletti knows that if his Inter nosedives to end the season, continued employment will most definitely not be in the cards. Tensions will be high, and I would be surprised if this match didn’t feature at least a handful of yellow cards.

Inter Milan v. Roma: April 20th. 20:30 CET/2:30 EDT. San Siro, Milano.