United look forward to Roma return

AS Roma can be forgiven a few nerves as they revisit Old Trafford just five months after their humiliating 7-1 defeat by Manchester United FC.

Both Manchester United and AS Roma go into this Group F fixture on the back of winning starts to their 2007/08 UEFA Champions League campaigns. United won away at Sporting Clube de Portugal through a solitary Cristiano Ronaldo header while Roma beat FC Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 at Stadio Olimpico.

• AS Roma players can be forgiven a few nerves as they prepare to revisit Old Trafford just five months after their humiliating 7-1 defeat by the English champions in the quarter-final of last season's UEFA Champions League. That result signalled United's biggest victory in Europe since 1968 - as well as Roma's heaviest defeat – and shattered entirely the Italian side's slender 2-1 advantage from the first leg. Yet it seems inconceivable that lightning could strike twice with Luciano Spalletti's men no doubt doubly determined to give a better account of themselves on their return to Manchester.

• United's scorers on that remarkable night of 10 April were Michael Carrick (2), Cristiano Ronaldo (2), Alan Smith, Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra, while Daniele De Rossi struck Roma's goal.

• Rooney was also on target in the first leg, his strike sandwiched by efforts from Taddei and Mirko Vučinić in a match where United’s Paul Scholes was dismissed.

• For United, the rout of Roma was the high point of their best UEFA Champions League campaign since 2001/02. After finishing top of their group – ahead of Celtic FC, SL Benfica and FC København – they overcame LOSC Lille Métropole and Roma before falling 5-3 on aggregate to AC Milan in the semi-finals.

• United's success last season was built on a formidable home record: they won all six matches at Old Trafford, scoring 20 goals at an average of 3.33 per game. Indeed they go into this season's competition having lost just one of their last 31 home outings in the UEFA Champions League.

• If those statistics were not sobering enough for Roma, United’s previous 13 matches at home to Italian teams have yielded nine wins and just two losses. The Giallorossi by contrast, have just one victory to their name from nine previous visits to England.

• The manner of their elimination at Old Trafford notwithstanding, Roma – who also finished second in Serie A last term - enjoyed a strong European campaign in 2006/07. They finished second in their group-stage section behind Valencia CF then overcame Olympique Lyonnais in the first knockout round.

• For the Giallorossi it was the first time they had reached the last eight since 1983/84 – the season they went all the way to the final before losing on penalties to Liverpool FC.

• Roma midfielder Simone Perrotta was born to Italian parents in the Lancashire town of Ashton-under-Lyme, a half-hour drive from Old Trafford and also the birthplace of England’s 1966 FIFA World Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst.

• Roma defenders Christian Panucci and Matteo Ferrari had short spells in the Premier League with Chelsea FC and Everton FC respectively. Panucci spent part of 2000/01 on loan at Chelsea while Ferrari was at Everton for the entire 2005/06 campaign.

• United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar played in Serie A between 1999 and 2001 with Juventus, while Mikaël Silvestre spent the 1998/99 campaign at FC Internazionale Milano. His compatriot Evra also played in Italy in the late 1990s for Marsala Calcio and Monza Calcio but never appeared in the top flight.

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