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Roma and Sporting maintain focus

Second meets third in Group F when AS Roma host Sporting Clube de Portugal with both sides eager to catch leaders Manchester United FC.

Paulo Bento has bad memories of Francesco Totti
Paulo Bento has bad memories of Francesco Totti ©Getty Images

Second meets third in Group F when AS Roma welcome Sporting Clube de Portugal to the Italian capital, with both sides eager for three points to maintain the pressure on early leaders Manchester United FC. Roma go into the game aiming to make amends for their Matchday 2 defeat in Manchester but Sporting, who trail their opponents on goal difference alone, should arrive buoyed by their victory at FC Dynamo Kyiv last time out – their first success on their travels in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Roma went down 1-0 at Old Trafford on 2 October, yielding to a 70th-minute Wayne Rooney strike. They had opened their campaign a fortnight earlier by beating Dynamo 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico, Simone Perrotta and Francesco Totti the scorers as Luciano Spalletti's men made it six home games unbeaten in the competition.

• After losing 1-0 at home to United on Matchday 1, Sporting found the perfect response with their 2-1 victory in Kiev. Tonel opened the scoring after 14 minutes and although Vaschuk equalised for the hosts, Anderson Polga's 38th-minute strike proved enough for Sporting to take the three points.

• Prior to beating Dynamo, Sporting had a disappointing record on the road in the UEFA Champions League, having registered five defeats and one draw in their two previous group stage campaigns. Indeed you had to go back to the 1970/71 season for their last away victory in Europe's élite club competition – a 4-0 success at Malta's Floriana FC in the first round of the European Champion Clubs' Cup.

• The two teams sit level on three points in Group F with United top of the section with six points. Given both sides have been beaten already by the English champions, neither will want to lose further ground with another defeat here.

• Paulo Bento's Sporting will hope to do better than on their last visit to Italy, at FC Internazionale Milano last November, when Hernán Crespo's solitary effort ended their hopes of reaching the knockout rounds. That defeat was their sixth in succession away to Italian opposition.

• Sporting may have beaten Inter 1-0 in the sides' earlier fixture in Lisbon in September 2006, Marco Caneira scoring, but it was the Lisbon club's only victory in their last 12 matches against Italian teams.

• Roma have previously met Portuguese opposition in five two-legged ties in UEFA club competition, winning three and losing two. Their record in their home games reads two victories, two draws and one defeat.

• The Giallorossi's most recent Portuguese opponents were Boavista FC, whom they faced in the second round of the 2000/01 UEFA Cup. Vincenzo Montella scored the only goal of the first leg in Porto while Hidetoshi Nakata found the net in a 1-1 draw in the return leg in the Italian capital.

• Sporting coach Bento has unhappy memories of facing a couple of Roma's players. He was in the Portugal team beaten 2-0 by Italy in a friendly in April 2000 in which Giallorossi captain Totti scored the second goal. Bento was also on the receiving end of a 2-0 loss when his then side SL Benfica played an AC Milan team that included Christian Panucci in the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.