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May 1, 2022 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Olimpico
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Preview: Roma vs. Bologna - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Roma vs. Bologna - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Roma and Bologna, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Still seeking points to confirm their return to Europe next season, Roma welcome giant-killers Bologna to Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening, after the visitors toppled Inter in midweek.

Perhaps playing a crucial part in the Scudetto's destiny, the Rossoblu were 2-1 winners on Wednesday, while Jose Mourinho's side followed league defeat to the same opponents with a draw at Leicester City, in the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final.

Match preview

After they kept a long unbeaten run going with their late equaliser at Napoli a week beforehand, Roma's streak came to a shuddering halt with their third successive loss against title-chasing Inter last weekend.

Already beaten by Jose Mourinho's former employers both in the reverse league fixture and the Coppa Italia, it was a case of more of the same for the Giallorossi at San Siro, as they were swept aside 3-1 - with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's 85th-minute consolation only adding to their long list of late goals this term.

The capital club had previously gone without defeat for 12 games while winning seven times in the process - representing the club's best streak in a single Serie A campaign since 2016 - but they soon dusted themselves down and went again on Thursday night.

A hard-fought 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium leaves them in the driving seat before the home leg of their Conference League semi with Leicester, after they soaked up pressure during the second half to nicely set up next week's return.

Though captain Lorenzo Pellegrini's early strike was cancelled out by a Gianluca Mancini own goal, Roma have yet to lose a subsequent Serie A match after playing in Europe since November's slip-up at Venezia. Between then and now, the Giallorossi have registered four wins and two draws straight after continental engagements.

They have also scored in 30 consecutive league games against Bologna at the Olimpico before the Emilian outfit visit the Eternal City on Sunday, and aim to continue that trend as they seek to secure fifth spot in the standings - currently two points clear of both Fiorentina and arch-rivals Lazio.

After a sensational comeback from going behind in the third minute on Wednesday, Bologna arrive in the capital full of confidence, having fared far better than Roma against Serie A's reigning champions.

Seemingly galvanised by their manager's bravery in tackling leukaemia for a second time of late, the Rossoblu are now unbeaten in their last five matches following a shock 2-1 win over Inter - with a little help from their visitors' hapless stand-in goalkeeper Ionut Radu, who presented Nicola Sansone with the winner on a plate.

The Felsinei last went six in a row without a defeat in a single Serie A campaign a decade ago, under former coach and current Milan boss Stefano Pioli, and they have surely inspired the absent Sinisa Mihajlovic as he recovers from treatment in hospital.

Having defied expectations in that rearranged fixture against the Nerazzurri - one of Mihajlovic's old clubs - a run which also includes victory over Sampdoria and draws with both Milan and Juventus sees Bologna occupy 13th place in the standings; still within four points of a top-half finish.

With a tally of just three, the Emilians have picked up the joint-fewest points away from home during the second half of the season, though, so will need to remedy their travel sickness on Sunday if they are to do the double over Roma for the first time since 1966-67.

Roma Serie A form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Roma form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D

Bologna Serie A form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Team News

Jose Mourinho's hand will be forced into making at least one change from the Roma lineup which started in Leicester, as playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan limped off with a thigh injury on Thursday night and could be out of action for at least the next week.

However, Nicolo Zaniolo makes a timely return from Serie A suspension, so could replace the Armenia international in a more withdrawn role, with young Felix Afena-Gyan another option to join top scorer Tammy Abraham up front. Despite having struck 24 times in 49 appearances this season, the former Chelsea striker has not scored in his last four league games - his longest drought since October.

As Sergio Oliveira is sidelined due to a one-match ban, Bryan Cristante and Jordan Veretout are likely to team up at the base of the Giallorossi's midfield. Meanwhile, Euro 2020 star Leonardo Spinazzola could make an appearance from the bench; completing his return from a 10-month layoff.

Bologna are set to be unchanged following their heroics at Dall'Ara, though Nicola Sansone is pushing hard for a start following two goals in as many games from the bench.

Mitchell Dijks is a doubt, having missed training, but Aaron Hickey is likely to feature on the left flank in any case, while midfielder Kingsley Michael remains out of action.

Leading the visitors' line, Marko Arnautovic has netted seven goals in his last eight appearances, and since February only Capocannoniere leader Ciro Immobile (nine) has managed more in Serie A.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Kumbulla; Maitland-Niles, Veretout, Cristante, Vina; Pellegrini, Zaniolo; Abraham

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; Soumaoro, Medel, Theate; De Silvestri, Svanberg, Schouten, Soriano, Hickey; Barrow, Arnautovic

We say: Roma 2-1 Bologna

Certainly a match for Calcio's best sides on their day, Bologna will be no pushovers in Sunday's late kick-off, but they may still find their unbeaten streak halted by Roma.

The hosts have so often found a way to steal points in the final minutes and can battle past visitors who have toiled on their travels of late.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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