Whatever the outcome of AS Roma's rematch with Manchester United FC tonight, at least one player with the Italian club is guaranteed a night to remember.
Whatever the outcome of AS Roma's rematch with Manchester United FC, at least one member of the Italian club's travelling entourage is guaranteed a night to remember.
Dream come true
For Simone Perrotta's father Francesco, the sight of his son running out at Old Trafford will be a dream come true, as the Roma midfielder explained on the eve of the game. Perrotta – who spent the first six years of his life in Ashton-under-Lyme, a short distance from Manchester – said: "My father was a big fan of this club and came to watch matches at this stadium for more than 20 years. It was a great wish of his to see his son play here. Last year I couldn't do that, tomorrow night I am delighted to be able to play here and to make him very happy as well."
While fate has taken the Perrotta family back to the corner of England they once called home, it has also, in the words of the Roma No20, afforded Luciano Spalletti's team a sooner-than-expected opportunity to make amends for the 7-1 rout at Old Trafford in last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Perrotta, who was suspended from that match, said: "We have to hope it will be different. It is a different game and it is not a question of us getting revenge – what we want to show more than anything else is that there are not six goals between the teams. After the defeat last time, we said there weren't six goals and destiny has given us the chance to show that."
Roma travelled to Manchester on the back of three matches without victory, a promising sequence of four straight wins having been halted by draws with Juventus and ACF Fiorentina and Saturday's 4-1 home defeat by FC Internazionale Milano. Perrotta defended their efforts, saying: "Perhaps with the exception of the second half against Inter, we've put in good performances and deserved to win. The whole team feel that we've played well and on occasions been a bit unfortunate." The immediate hope is for a change of fortune on English soil, where the Giallorossi have prevailed just once in nine visits. Recalling April's meltdown in Manchester, he said: "It was a combination of a whole set of circumstances that went against us last time around. Tomorrow is a different match, with different players on each team – I imagine it will be a great match between two teams with an attacking approach."