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Apr 18, 2021 at 5pm UK
Sanabria (57'), Zaza (71'), Rincon (90+2')
Nkoulou (51'), Verdi (65')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Mayoral (3')
Diawara (74')
Diawara (85')

Preview: Torino vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups

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

After sealing a place in the Europa League semi-finals in midweek, seventh-placed Roma travel north to meet a battling Torino side on Sunday, seeking to stay in the hunt for a European return next season.

The hosts, meanwhile, have picked up seven points from their last four games to keep their heads above water at the other end of the Serie A standings.

Match preview

Before they set off for Turin this weekend, Roma can reflect on a positive week amid turbulent times in the capital, as Paulo Fonseca's side attempt to quell disquiet about below-par domestic displays and remain in the mix for a top-four finish next month.

Undoubtedly, Fonseca and company are experiencing a particularly double-edged season, with their Serie A campaign faltering, while they keep the Italian flag flying in Europe as the only team from the peninsula still standing in continental competition.

The Giallorossi followed last Sunday's narrow win over Bologna at Stadio Olimpico with a similarly close-run contest against Ajax at the same venue on Thursday.

Though a 1-1 draw on the night was enough to scrape through and book a date with Manchester United in the Europa League's final four, the capital club were fortunate to progress after the Dutch outfit had nearly three-quarters of the possession and saw a potential winning goal disallowed in the second half.

Clearly, Roma are comfortable at that level, having won 12 out of 14 matches in the competition this season, but must now translate such a hit-rate to domestic duties if they are to catch the sides just above them, as recent results have been underwhelming.

Successive defeats to relegation-threatened Parma and close rivals Napoli were followed by a draw with mid-table Sassuolo, before Borja Mayoral's winner against Bologna left them seventh in the standings with eight games to play.

They will certainly fancy their chances of posting back-to-back wins this week, as Roma have won seven of their last eight Serie A encounters with Torino - scoring at least three goals in five of those matches - and have won each of their last three league games away to Turin's second side.

Now with a five-point buffer over the bottom three - plus still with a game in hand - Torino have their top-flight fate firmly in their own hands ahead of Sunday evening's game.

Their win over mid-table Udinese last week - combined with Cagliari's almost inevitable defeat against runaway leaders Inter - has significantly boosted an already tangible spirit within the Granata camp.

Despite a relative lack of points to start with, performances have markedly improved since Toro supporter Davide Nicola stepped into the hotseat in mid-season, as the former Genoa boss immediately instilled a greater unity among his underperforming charges. During his tenure, they have averaged 1.27 points per game (the 10th best rate in the division during this period), while under previous manager Marco Giampaolo they averaged just 0.72.

Torino's last four outings have now reaped a tally of seven valuable points and their attack - featuring top scorer Andrea Belotti, whose penalty proved decisive against Udinese - continues to be the most potent of any of the sides below eighth in the table.

Only their long-standing defensive deficiencies have robbed them of several more points on home soil this term, as they have often thrown away promising positions and drawn the joint-most home matches in the top five European leagues this season - eight out of 14 so far.

Even if their game in hand is a tricky test against top-four contenders Lazio - with Milan and Napoli both still ahead on the fixture list after hosting Roma - the Granata are now strong contenders to take a place on the start line in Serie A's 2021-22 campaign.

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

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

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

Team News

Roma defender Chris Smalling - who continues to be troubled by thigh and knee problems ahead of the Europa League semi-final against former club Manchester United - was left shaken by three armed men breaking into his house in midweek, forcing him to open the safe, and will not feature on Sunday.

Influential midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini is suspended for Paulo Fonseca's side, while both Leonardo Spinazzola and Stephan El Shaarawy are nursing thigh strains and miss the trip north, while Albanian centre-back Marash Kumbulla and golden boy Nicolo Zaniolo are likely to miss the remainder of the season.

Young wing-back Riccardo Calafiori, who assisted Edin Dzeko's decisive goal against Ajax, was substituted shortly after with an apparent muscle pull, so Bruno Peres should come back into the starting XI.

In attack, key creator Henrikh Mkhitaryan made his comeback from a calf injury to start last time out and could be given another opportunity to build his match fitness.

The hosts, meanwhile, are at almost full strength this weekend, as first-choice wing-back Wilfried Singo is set to return from a thigh strain and central defender Lyanco is now fit to reclaim his place at the heart of the Torino defence.

However, Italy international Salvatore Sirigu may remain sidelined by COVID-19, following an outbreak in the Azzurri camp earlier this month, so Vanja Milinkovic-Savic will once more cover the experienced goalkeeper's absence.

Mergim Vojvoda could lose his place on the right flank as Singo slots back in, while the in-form forward pairing of Antonio Sanabria and Andrea Belotti are expected to continue up front, with Simone Zaza hoping to make an impact from the bench.

Torino possible starting lineup:
Milinkovic-Savic; Izzo, Lyanco, Bremer; Singo, Rincon, Mandragora, Ansaldi; Verdi; Sanabria, Belotti

Roma possible starting lineup:
Mirante; Mancini, Cristante, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Diawara, Villar, Peres; Mkhitaryan, Perez; Mayoral

We say: Torino 2-1 Roma

The constant workload of midweek matches at high intensity appears to be catching up with Roma this month, as they battle to salvage their Serie A campaign amid a number of tired legs and absences.

Contrastingly, much-improved Torino are building up a head of steam which may see them pull away from trouble sooner rather than later - and their newfound Belotti-Sanabria strike pairing is set to be an integral factor.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win 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.Draw/Away:data

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