Probable line-ups: Roma v Ajax

Edin Dzeko, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini are expected to start in Roma’s Europa League quarter-final with Ajax.

The Giallorossi won the first leg 2-1 in Amsterdam and the decider is at the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

Leonardo Spinazzola limped off during the early minutes of that game and is still out of action, along with Chris Smalling, Marash Kumbulla, Stephan El Shaarawy and Nicolò Zaniolo.

Coach Paulo Fonseca already confirmed that youth team product Riccardo Calafiori will take over at left-back from Spinazzola, while Rick Karsdorp returns after missing the first leg through suspension.

Bruno Peres sits out a ban, reducing the options even further.

Dzeko should again lead the attack with Pellegrini, but the difference is that Mkhitaryan is now ready to start after a long-term injury lay-off.

Ajax are without suspended Devyne Rensch, while Daley Blind is still out and Sebastien Heller was accidentally left off the Europa League list when completing his transfer in January.

Maarten Stekelenburg returns after missing the first match with a knee injury and will start in goal against his former club, as Andre Onana is sitting out a doping ban.

Sean Klaiber is the favourite to step in for Rensch on the right, although Jurrien Timber is also an option.

Probable line-ups

Roma (3-4-2-1): Pau Lopez; Mancini, Cristante, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Veretout, Diawara, Calafiori; Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko

Ajax (4-3-3): Stekelenburg; Klaiber, Schuurs, Martinez, Tagliafico; Klassen, Alvarez, Gravenberch; Antony, Tadic, Neres

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Tottenham could meet with Sarri

According to Italian reports, Tottenham Hotspur have been targeting Maurizio Sarri for at least a month and he could meet with them next week.

The coach is still under contract with Juventus, who fired him just under a year ago, despite winning the Serie A title.

Spurs are in crisis under coach Jose Mourinho and giving serious consideration to his replacement for next term, with suggestions he might not even see out the season.

La Gazzetta dello Sport claim that Tottenham had already wanted Sarri back in 2018, before he went to Chelsea, and the interest has never waned.

In fact, the report insists Sarri has been aware of the latest push for at least a month and a meeting could be set up in London next week.

Sarri has also been linked with a Serie A role at Roma, a team perhaps more suited to his style of football, but Spurs would be another intriguing Premier League challenge.

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Stekelenburg: ‘I have no Roma regrets’

Maarten Stekelenburg takes the blame for his ‘difficult’ spell at Roma, but has no regrets ahead of the Europa League trip with Ajax.

The first leg of the Europa League quarter-final ended 2-1 for the Giallorossi in Amsterdam and the decider is tomorrow at the Stadio Olimpico.

Stekelenburg missed the first match due to injury, but returns here to face the club he represented from 2011-13.

“My years in Rome were difficult, but it was my fault,” confessed the 38-year-old in his press conference.

“I really was happy there, it was a good experience, but I was leaving Ajax for the first time and it was definitely a learning experience for me. I haven’t been back here for 10 years.

“I have no regrets over my career, they were all intense experiences. I am here to do my best, there’s absolutely no desire for revenge against Roma. It’d be a real problem if I had to seek extra motivation for a quarter-final.”

With Andre Onana suspended for a doping violation, Stekelenburg was replaced in the first leg by Kjell Scherpen, who made a serious error on Lorenzo Pellegrini’s free kick.

“Football is constantly changing and with it free kick routines, for example the way many have a man lying down behind the wall.

“Scherpen did well, errors can happen and we encourage each other in the team. I saw a balanced game in the first leg, we just need to be more precise in front of goal.

“Italian teams are strong defensively and we must make the most of it when we do create those scoring opportunities.”

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Martinez: ‘Ajax must attack’

Defender Lisandro Martinez said Ajax can’t give Edin Dzeko, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Pedro any space on Thursday. ‘They know how to hurt you’.

Ajax travel to Rome for the return leg in the quarter-finals of the Europa League and must turn around a 2-1 defeat to the Giallorossi from Amsterdam.

“It’s a pity, we attacked throughout the game,” Martinez told Calciomercato.it. “In the first half we lost to many balls and they caught us off guard, but we only made two real mistakes and paid dearly for them.

“In any case, I want to think about the positive side of the performance: the team constantly attacked and created many opportunities, but we failed to materialise.

“The penalty would have changed everything but getting it wrong is part of the game. We have to learn that in these matches you can’t waste opportunities, nor make mistakes.”

Martinez doesn’t expect a different approach during the return leg in the Italian capital.

“Our identity is that, it won’t change,” he continued. “We will attack, we need to win to reach the semi-finals.

“We will try to be solid in defence.”

The 23-year-old has played five games in the Champions League and five times in the Europa League this term, and he admitted the Roma attackers are dangerous.

“They have several players that are very strong,” he said. “Dzeko, Pellegrini and Pedro are players of great value.

“If you give them space, they know how to hurt you.”

The Argentine has been linked with a move to Serie A in the past and admitted he’s flattered by the interest.

“I try to enjoy the present, to continue to learn and work in one of the biggest clubs in Europe,” he said about the rumours.

“That said, any footballer would love to play in the most competitive leagues in the world. Serie A is undoubtedly one of them.”

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De Rossi discharged from hospital

Italy staff member Daniele De Rossi was discharged from Spallanzani Hospital today and will continue the recovery at home.

Good news for the former Roma captain, who was hospitalised since April 9 due to coronavirus.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reveals the latest exams allowed the former midfielder to go home with the help of the health team.

De Rossi will continue the rehabilitation period at home, after having been hospitalised with bilateral interstitial pneumonia.

The newspaper reports De Rossi thanked the doctors and nurses when he left the institute.

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