Serie A giants Roma must replicate their domestic form if they are to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League this season.
Rudi Garcia’s men are currently level with Premier League champions Manchester City and CSKA Moscow in the group stages having amassed five points from five games, and face a decisive clash with City in Rome that could see the winner prevail.
And despite having endured a difficult time on the European scene, their form in the league shows they possess enough quality to make it through to the next stage where they could rub shoulders against some of the biggest names in the footballing world.
After amassing their best points total under Garcia last term only to lose out to Antonio Conte’s exceptional Juventus, the focus has been on getting off to a great start to give them hope of a first Scudetto since 2001.
They were beaten 3-2 by the Old Lady when they rubbed shoulders with Massimiliano Allegri’s men in October, but have only lost once since to Rafael Benitez’s inconsistent Napoli side.
Last year’s runners-up have amassed 28 points from 12 league games and currently trail the defending champions by three points at the summit.
They remain the only side, other than Juventus themselves, capable of building and sustaining momentum that could yield plenty of silverware in the long run.
Things have not gone quite so swimmingly in Europe, with Tuesday evenings 1-1 draw against Moscow hugely disappointingly given how the game had been in their grasp throughout.
They were comprehensively thumped by Pep Guardiola’s marvellous Bayern Munich in the capital to leave their confidence crushed, after an early thumping of CSKA had the footballing world standing as one in its appraisal.
City were matched stride for stride as the sides slugged it out at the Etihad Stadium, with the evergreen Francesco Totti scoring a goal that currently gives them the edge ahead of the rematch in just under two weeks’ time.
Bayern then comfortably won the reverse in Munich and whose capitulation against the English champions on Tuesday now leaves Garcia and Manuel Pellegrini free to battle it out for a place in the knockout stages of the tournament.
Roma must be wary of the in-form Sergio Aguero but must stand and fight like gladiators to ensure their inconsistent form does not come back to haunt them.
They will meet a City side now brimming with confidence and expectancy after staring down the barrel of elimination at the first hurdle for the third time in four years.
Garcia’s men have the capabilities to prevail. It is now just a case of transferring their domestic form onto the European front.
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