AS Roma to face Middlesbrough

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:39 IST

Three of AS Roma's top strikers are injured, it's starting goalkeeper is banged up and midfielder Daniele De Rossi is suspended.

AS Roma to face Middlesbrough

London:

Three of AS Roma's top strikers are injured, it's starting goalkeeper is banged up and midfielder Daniele De Rossi is suspended. That's unlikely to slow the Italian team, which will be among the favorites when the UEFA Cup's round of 16 begins on Thursday. German teams Schalke and Hamburg are also in that position, while Spanish club Sevilla and France's Lille are other strong contenders. Roma opens its two-leg series at Middlesbrough, a club struggling in 15th place in the English Premier League. Roma, in fifth place in the Series A and pushing for a European Champions League spot next season, has overcome injuries to play some of Italy's best soccer. Striker and captain Francesco Totti is out until May following leg surgery. Fellow striker Vincenzo Montella is gone for 10 days with a back injury. Another striker, Shabani Nonda, is lost for another month with a bad knee. "I don't have any strikers,'' said Roma coach Luciano Spalletti. Fortunately for Spalletti, he's strong on defense with Christian Panucci, Sammy Kuffour and Philippe Mexes - and at midfield with Simone Perrotta, Olivier Dacourt, Rodrigo Taddei and Amantino Mancini. Schalke will be without striker Kevin Kuranyi - out after knee surgery - and playmaker Lincoln is doubtful. The Germans are still the choice facing Palermo, which has lost two straight games and hasn't scored in three. (AP)

Topics : Football
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