Middlesbrough keen on Roma therapy

Having eased their relegation fears Middlesbrough FC will be out to impress against an AS Roma side whose long winning run finally ended on Sunday.

English Premiership side Middlesbrough FC have been in impeccable form since booking a place in the UEFA Cup Round of 16 while Thursday's opponents AS Roma's record-breaking run in Serie A was dramatically ended on Sunday night.

Middlesbrough FC 1-0 Birmingham City FC
Having reached the last 16 for the second successive season by overcoming VfB Stuttgart on away goals, Middlesbrough eased their relegation fears with two Premiership victories, the latest secured by Mark Viduka's 44th-minute goal at the Riverside stadium - his fifth in his last four matches against Birmingham. "Mark Viduka was the difference between the two sides," said Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren. "We didn't play as well as we'd have liked but we got the three points. That's seven wins out of nine and 12 points from the last 15, and you saw exactly why we've been on that run. We've got quality strikers who can score goals and the team defended resolutely to keep a clean sheet."

Viduka replaced Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in the starting lineup as the Dutch forward - who scored both goals in the 2-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion FC the previous weekend - had a virus, while Stewart Downing failed a late fitness test on a knee injury. Doriva returned from a back problem to come on as a second-half substitute, although wing-back Stuart Parnaby limped off midway through the first period to be replaced by Andrew Davies. Ray Parlour is close to returning, however, and James Morrison will also resume training shortly after it was revealed a hip problem did not require surgery.

AS Roma 1-1 FC Internazionale Milano
After defeating S.S. Lazio 2-0 on 26 February to extend their sequence of Serie A wins to eleven, thereby setting a new record, Roma's run was brought to an end by Inter at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday. A late equaliser from Marco Materazzi cancelled out Rodrigo Taddei's early opener, created by a fine pass from fellow Brazilian Mancini, as Roma had to settle for a point which left them fifth in the Italian top flight.

"We did well to take the lead," said Roma coach Luciano Spalletti. "Unfortunately we failed to add a second goal and afterwards Inter reacted well, so overall I think that the result was fair. Our aim is still to finish in the top four." Midfielder Alberto Aquilani missed the match through suspension while Spalletti was faced with problems in attack with Francesco Totti (broken leg), Francesco Montella (back) and Shabani Nonda (knee) all absent with injuries.

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