x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'Liberated' Roma to let go

Bologna host Roma tomorrow with the two sides on the back of vastly contrasting results.

AS Roma's Christian Panucci, right, celebrates with his teammate Daniele De Rossi  after scoring against Chelsea during their Champions League match.
AS Roma's Christian Panucci, right, celebrates with his teammate Daniele De Rossi after scoring against Chelsea during their Champions League match.

ROME // Bologna host Roma tomorrow with the two sides on the back of vastly contrasting results. Second to bottom Bologna lost 5-1 at Cagliari last Sunday which prompted coach Daniele Arrigoni's sacking and the appointment of Serbia's former Inter assistant manager Sinisa Mihajlovic. Roma, last season's runners-up, lost 2-0 at Juventus last weekend to lie a point above the drop zone but Tuesday's stunning 3-1 win over Chelsea in the Champions League with a new 4-4-2 formation has boosted their confidence.

"Now the team can liberate itself and play proper football," the Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said. But Mihajlovic, who won the 2000 scudetto with Roma's city rivals Lazio, was renowned as an ultra-hard competitor while a player and he will look to put the same steel in his new team. In other standout matches, AC Milan travel to Lecce in Sunday's late game and Juventus, buoyed by the 2-0 win at Real Madrid which put them into the Champions League last 16, go to coach Domenico Di Carlo's new club Chievo. There may be a long way to go in the season, but AC Milan still have cause for celebration following their return to the Serie A summit after a four-year absence.

It marks the first time since May 2004 - the season they last won the Scudetto - that Milan have topped the Serie A standings. "Finally after four years of suffering we have made it," the Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf said. "It gives us enormous satisfaction." * Agencies