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Europa League | Round of 16 | 1st Leg
Mar 7, 2024 at 5.45pm UK
Stadio Olimpico

4 - 0

Dybala (13'), Lukaku (43'), Mancini (64'), Cristante (68')
Spinazzola (61')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Paul van Hecke (38'), Lamptey (67')

Preview: Roma vs. Brighton & Hove Albion - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Roma vs. Brighton & Hove Albion - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Roma and Brighton & Hove Albion, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Kicking off a glamour tie in the Europa League's last 16, European rookies Brighton & Hove Albion continue their continental adventure on Thursday, when they visit Roma at Stadio Olimpico.

While the Giallorossi are regulars in UEFA competition and reached this stage via a dramatic win in the playoffs, newcomers Brighton cruised through the group phase on their long-awaited debut.

Match preview

Beating familiar foes Feyenoord for the third time in as many years, Roma came through the Europa League's knockout-round playoffs last month, after a 2-2 aggregate draw sent their contest to extra time and, ultimately, a penalty shootout.

After suffering an early setback on the night, captain Lorenzo Pellegrini scored the Serie A side's leveller on 15 minutes, and following a subsequent stalemate, goalkeeper Mile Svilar was the hero, saving Romelu Lukaku's blushes when the Belgian striker missed from the spot.

Having had to settle for second place behind Slavia Prague in Group G, despite collecting 13 points from six games, Roma have taken the tough route through to the last 16, but given recent form - and past results in Europe - they will be confident of progressing further.

Europa Conference League winners in 2022, and Europa League finalists last year, the Giallorossi are starting to thrive in domestic competition, with returning hero Daniele De Rossi making a major impact since being appointed head coach until the end of the season.

Roma thumped mid-table Monza 4-1 last weekend, when Pellegrini and Lukaku were both on the scoresheet, and they have lost just once in nine games since De Rossi replaced Jose Mourinho - and that was to Italy's top dogs, Inter Milan.

Posting seven wins in that time, fans at the sold-out Stadio Olimpico are growing accustomed to a more attractive style of play, with their transformed team averaging around three goals per game: up to sixth in the Serie A standings, Roma are just four shy of Bologna in fourth.

Very much on the same page in terms of their football philosophies, De Rossi and his personal friend Roberto De Zerbi will now meet in Rome, as both seek a crucial first-leg advantage.

Brighton boss De Zerbi returns to Italy, where several possible vacancies could open up in the summer, having helped the English club secure a first-ever continental campaign and then steered them serenely through Group B in the autumn.

Scoring twice as many goals as they conceded, the Seagulls swept past Marseille, Ajax and AEK Athens to finish top by two points and avoid slipping into the playoffs.

Upon arrival in the Eternal City, De Zerbi's side will have won each of their last four European fixtures without shipping a single goal - and they have yet to lose an away game.

However, after crashing out of the FA Cup last week, Brighton were then beaten 3-0 by Fulham in the Premier League, so they occupy ninth place and are trailing behind in the top-six race.

Having beaten only Sheffield United (twice), Crystal Palace and second-tier Stoke City since the start of 2024, the Seagulls are struggling to replicate their mesmerising football of last season, and the rate at which they leak goals will also be cause for concern.

Roma Europa League form:

Roma form (all competitions):

Brighton & Hove Albion Europa League form:

Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions):

Team News

Roma boss Daniele De Rossi faces a selection issue on the right flank, as Rasmus Kristensen has been ruled out by a thigh injury sustained against Monza, while fellow full-back Rick Karsdorp has only just overcome a knee problem and returned to full training.

Zeki Celik may therefore get the nod, with Chris Smalling potentially coming in to the hosts' defence too.

Boasting a brilliant personal record in the Europa League, Romelu Lukaku is one of this season's top scorers, alongside Brighton's Joao Pedro; both are joint-second in the rankings with six goals apiece.

The Brazilian is struggling with an injury, though, and could join Kaoru Mitoma (back), Solly March (knee), Jack Hinshelwood (foot) and James Milner (thigh) on the sidelines.

Billy Gilmour will be available amid a three-match domestic suspension, while Pascal Gross and Simon Adingra may be promoted from the bench.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Svilar; Mancini, Smalling, Ndicka; Celik, Cristante, Paredes, Pellegrini, Spinazzola; Dybala, Lukaku

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Verbruggen; Veltman, Dunk, Van Hecke; Lamptey, Gross, Gilmour, Estupinan; Buonanotte, Adingra; Welbeck

We say: Roma 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

Roma have lost just one of their last 23 home games in the Europa League - winning no fewer than 17 - and they have been given a new lease of life under Daniele De Rossi. As Brighton are currently below their best, the Premier League side could find themselves one goal behind heading into next week's second leg.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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