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Roma's good omen against free-scoring Madrid

The group stage's top scorers Real Madrid take on the team that conceded the most, Roma, but the Italian side have happy memories of a Melbourne meeting in July.

An 80,000 crowd watched Madrid play Roma in Melbourne this summer
An 80,000 crowd watched Madrid play Roma in Melbourne this summer ©Getty Images
  • First leg: Roma v Real Madrid, Wednesday 17 February (20.45CET)
  • Second leg: Real Madrid v Roma, Tuesday 8 March (20.45CET)

Reaction
Rudi Garcia, Roma coach

Madrid will be favourites and we'll need a big effort to qualify. I hope the Olimpico will be packed on 17 February. We have faced Barcelona in the group stage and now Real Madrid, but we're in the Champions League for this reason: to see the best players in the world here at the Olimpico. It will be a good moment for our fans.

We played Real Madrid in a friendly last summer [a penalties victory in July] and it went quite well for us, but obviously the Champions League is a completely different story. However, in February we will have a few players back from injury and we will be ready to give everything. All the lads are ready and looking forward to this game.

Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid director
Roma are a tough side, they'll be really up for it and they compete well. If we see ourselves as favourites things won't go well for us. We know that ties against Italian teams are always very tight and balanced. So we'll see ... I hope we'll go into the tie in good shape, with all our players available. But we know these games can be very even.

[We'll go into the tie] with maximum caution and maximum concentration, minding every single detail, because those details might be decisive. We realise how important this competition is to us. [Playing] the second leg at home might be an advantage, as that seems to be an important factor in ties like these. We hope to return for the quarter-final [draw], that's the objective.

Analysis

  • The teams have met eight times, Roma recording three wins and Madrid four, the Spanish side scoring 15 goals and conceding nine.
  • Roma, however, came out on top when the teams last faced off, in the 2007/08 round of 16. After a 2-1 victory in Rome in which David Pizarro and Mancini replied to Raúl González's opener, Roma won by the same scoreline in the Spanish capital, Raúl quickly cancelling out Rodrigo Taddei's 75th-minute goal only for Mirko Vučinić to strike in added time.
  • Roma were paired with Spanish opposition in this season's group stage, drawing 1-1 with Barcelona at the Olimpico before a 6-1 defeat at the Camp Nou.
  • Madrid have not won a European knockout tie against Italian opposition since 1987, when they defeated Napoli. Since then they have been knocked out by AC Milan (1989/90, 1990/91), Torino (1991/92), Juventus (1995/96, 2002/03, 2004/05, 2014/15) and Roma (2007/08).
Five great Totti goals
Five great Totti goals
  • Madrid have failed to win in their last three fixtures against Italian opposition, and were knocked out of last term's UEFA Champions League semi-finals by Juventus (1-2 away, 1-1 home).
  • Rafael Benítez's first game in charge of Madrid was a tour match against Roma in Melbourne in July. Roma prevailed 7-6 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in front of more than 80,000 fans.
  • Madrid were group-stage top scorers with 19 goals including a record 11 by Cristiano Ronaldo. Roma let in 16, the joint-most of the round and more than any other previous side that has got past their group.