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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Roma good value to regain pride against Barcelona

Catalans have won only five of last 15 Champions League away games

Edin Dzeko is a threat up front for Roma
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Champions League quarter-final second leg
BT Sport 3, 7.45pm Tuesday

Barcelona look to have done the hard work in their Champions League quarter-final and the second leg against Roma should be a formality at the Stadio Olimpico.

Barca, thanks to last week's 4-1 victory, should make sure there is no repeat of the last time they headed to Italy for a knockout match- a 3-0 loss at Juventus last season.

Ernesto Valverde's side have shown their discipline by holding Juve to a 0-0 draw in Turin in the group stage, while in the last 16 they seemed more than happy with a 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

That suggests odds-on quotes are on the skinny side given Barca don't need to win and the better bet could be to back the draw.

Barcelona have won only five of their last 15 Champions League away matches and drawn three of their last four on the road in all competitions.

Gone are the days when Barcelona play with freedom. They are a much more functional unit under Valverde, waiting for moments of magic from Lionel Messi, who scored his latest hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Leganes on Saturday.

Messi has 12 goals in his last ten matches with Barca unbeaten in their last 38 La Liga games, equalling the record of Real Sociedad in 1979-80, but their priority for this trip is to make sure Roma are not given a sniff of a crazy comeback.

Roma team profile

Barcelona team profile

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Roma played well in parts of that 4-1 defeat last week and were better than the three-goal margin suggested, with two own goals contributing towards their heavy loss.

Bad fortune also played a part in Saturday's shock 2-0 loss at home to Fiorentina and on expected goals Roma are seen as only fractionally worse than Juventus in Serie A this season.

However, Roma have not been ruthless enough in front of goal, a point emphasised by them out-shooting Fiorentina 20-2 in that 2-0 loss. At least they possess a world-class keeper in Alisson, who can make sure the Wolves are competitive.

1pt 7-2 bet365, Betfred

Serie A standings

La Liga standings

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Team news
Cengiz Under has returned to training but remains doubtful. Diego Perotti and Rick Karsdorp are sidelined.

Lucas Digne is injured and Philippe Coutinho cup-tied.

Key stat
Roma have won just four of their last 11 home matches in the Champions League.

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Roma have won just four of their last 11 home matches in the Champions League
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