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Football | Champions League

Big Match Feature: Chelsea v Roma

Chelsea FC and AS Roma both won 2-1 away on matchday two, and will be looking to cement their status in Group C as they meet at Stamford Bridge.

The match pits Chelsea's Italian manager Antonio Conte against old rivals Roma; the Serie A outfit have taken four points from their two games so far, two points fewer than their London opponents.

Previous Meetings

Home sides held the upper hand in the teams' only previous fixtures, in the 2008/09 group stage. Luiz Felipe Scolari's Chelsea won the first game 1-0 in London, John Terry getting the only goal in the 77th minute.

The teams at Stamford Bridge on 22 October 2008 were:

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho, Terry, Bridge, Mikel, Deco, Malouda (Belletti 46), Lampard, Kalou (Di Santo 77), Anelka (Paulo Ferreira 90+3).

Roma: Doni, Cicinho, Panucci, Mexès, Riise (Tonetto 82), Aquilani (Perrotta 61), Taddei (Ménez 81), De Rossi, Brighi, Totti, Vucinic.

The Italian side, then coached by Luciano Spalletti, turned the tables on 4 November, a goal from Christian Panucci (34) and a Mirko Vucinic double (48, 58) securing a 3-1 home victory at the Stadio Olimpico despite Terry's 75thminute reply for Chelsea, who lost Nicolas Anelka to a second booking nine minutes from time.

Match Background


This is Chelsea's first meeting with Italian opponents since the 2012/13 group stage, when they collected one point from two games against Juventus; Roberto Di Matteo's side were held 2-2 at home before a 3-0 reverse in Turin helped seal their early exit, becoming the first holders to fail to get through the following season's group stage.

Chelsea's home record against Italian clubs is W5 D2 L2.

Conte's side are the early leaders in Group C having beaten debutants Qarabag FK 6-0 on matchday one before Michy Batshuayi secured a 2-1 victory at Club Atlético de Madrid with the final kick of the game.

Champions of England for a sixth time in 2016/17, Chelsea were not involved in European competition last term for the first time since 1996/97. They had appeared in every Uefa Champions League group stage going back to 2003/04.

European champions in 2012, Chelsea got to the round of 16 on their last Uefa Champions League appearance in 2015/16, losing to Paris Saint-Germain at that stage for the second year running.

The Stamford Bridge side lost 2-1 at home to Paris in the 2016 round of 16, their sole defeat in their last nine matches in west London (W6 D2).

The Londoners have won their Uefa Champions League group on their last three appearances, and 11 times overall. The only time they have failed to progress to the last 16 was 2012/13, when they became the first holders to go out in the group phase; they went on to win the Uefa Europa League.


Roma have four points from their two Group C games, opening with a goalless draw at home to Atlético before a 2-1 victory at Qarabag.

That Qarabag success was Roma's first win in eight Uefa Champions League matches, home and away and including qualifying, since a 3-2 home victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen on 4 November 2015. They have now won two of their last 17 games in the competition.

The Italian side were eliminated by FC Porto in last season's play-offs (1-1 away, 0-3 home). They got as far as the Uefa Europa League round of 16, where they were defeated 5-4 over two legs by Olympique Lyonnais.

Roma won two of their five away fixtures in last season's Uefa Europa League but, in the Uefa Champions League, were without a victory in ten away matches, including qualifying (D5 L5), before matchday two. A 3-2 triumph at FC Basle 1893 in the 2009/10 group stage is their only other victory in their last 13 away games in the competition, group stage to final (D5 L7).

Roma have won only one of their 15 away games in England, losing nine. Their last trip was a 1-1 draw at Manchester City FC in the 2014/15 group stage, in which Francesco Totti became the oldest goalscorer in the Uefa Champions League.

The Giallorossi's sole victory in England was a 1-0 at Liverpool FC in the 2000/01 Uefa Cup fourth round second leg; even then they bowed out on aggregate having lost 2-0 at home. 6

Second in Serie A in 2016/17, Roma are in the group stage for a tenth time and the third in four years.

Coach and Player Links

Conte played in Serie A for US Lecce (1985–91) and Juventus (1991–2004). He also coached Atalanta BC (2009/10) and Juventus (2011–14) in Serie A before taking charge of Italy between 2014 and joining Chelsea in 2016.

Conte coached Roma players Daniele De Rossi, Alessandro Florenzi and Stephan El Shaarawy with the Azzurri.

Antonio Rüdiger joined Chelsea in the summer after playing 56 Serie A games in two seasons with Roma.

Davide Zappacosta was born in Sora, around 115km from Rome. He played in Serie A with Atalanta (2014/15) and Torino FC (2015–17), joining Chelsea in the summer.

Álvaro Morata scored 15 league goals at Juventus from 2014-16, winning the Scudetto in both campaigns. He was sent off in a 3-2 win against Roma in 2014; his record against the Giallorossi was W2 D1 L1.

Michy Batshuayi scored in Belgium's 4-3 victory against Edin Džeko's Bosnia and Herzegovina on 7 October.

Morata scored in Spain's 3-0 defeat of Daniele De Rossi's Italy in a Fifa World Cup qualifier on 2 September.

De Rossi missed and Cesc Fàbregas converted the decisive spot kick as Spain defeated Italy on penalties in the Uefa EURO 2008 quarterfinals. Fàbregas also appeared in Spain's Uefa EURO 2012 final win against De Rossi's Italy, who eliminated Spain in the round of 16 at Uefa EURO 2016. • Have played together:

Tiémoué Bakayoko & Stephan El Shaarawy (AS Monaco FC, 2015/16)

Willy Caballero & Edin Džeko, Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City, 2014/15)

Kenedy & Gerson (Fluminense FC, 2015)

International teammates:

Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Michy Batshuayi & Radja Nainggolan (Belgium)

N'Golo Kanté, Tiémoué Bakayoko & Maxime Gonalons (France)

Also played in Italy:

Marcos Alonso (ACF Fiorentina, 2013–16)

Eduardo (Genoa CFC 2010/11)

Have played in England:

Edin Džeko (Manchester City FC, 2011–15)

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City, 2010–17)

Federico Fazio (Tottenham Hotspur FC, 2014–16)

Match Facts


Chelsea lost 2-1 at bottom-of-the-table Crystal Palace FC – who had not scored or picked up a point in their opening seven league fixtures of the season – on Saturday.

Chelsea have dropped eight points in four Premier League home games this season, two more than in the whole of 2016/17.

Morata went off with a hamstring injury in the first half of the 1-0 home loss to Manchester City FC on 30 September.

Batshuayi has scored six goals in his last seven outings for club and country.

César Azpilicueta and Pedro Rodríguez (Spain), Gary Cahill (England), Victor Moses (Nigeria), Rüdiger (Germany) and Kanté (France) played during the international break as their teams qualified for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

Kanté was ruled out for three weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury in the first half of France's 1-0 victory away to Bulgaria on 7 October.

Hazard and Kanté are on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or. The winner will be announced in December.


Roma had won their last five matches in all competitions prior to Saturday's 1-0 defeat by SSC Napoli.

Džeko has scored ten goals in 13 outings for club and country this season.

Alessandro Florenzi, who returned to action in mid-September after recovering from a serious knee injury sustained in October 2016, scored his first goal in almost 12 months as Roma triumphed 2-0 at AC Milan before the international break.

Kostas Manolas is expected to be out for around a month due to a thigh strain sustained against Napoli.

Grégoire Defrel has not played since suffering a thigh injury on matchday two. 7

Summer signing Rick Karsdorp has yet to make his Giallorossi debut due to knee and thigh injuries; he was an unused substitute at the weekend.

Patrik Schick made his Roma debut as a substitute against Hellas Verona on 16 September but is now sidelined after the recurrence of a thigh injury.

Džeko, the 29-goal Serie A top scorer last season, is on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or. The winner will be announced in December.

Head coach

Antonio Conte

Date of birth: 31 July 1969

Nationality: Italian

Playing career: US Lecce, Juventus

Coaching career: AC Siena (assistant), USD Arezzo, AS Bari, Atalanta BC, AC Siena, Juventus, Italy, Chelsea FC

A combative and versatile midfielder, Conte also weighed in with his share of goals – usually spectacular. Made Serie A debut with hometown club Lecce aged 16 in 1985/86 but was not a regular until 1988/89 when his side returned to the top flight after two seasons away. Joined Juventus in November 1991.

Spent the next 13 seasons at Juve, later describing the famous black-and-white shirt as his "second skin". Won five league titles, the Uefa Champions League in 1995/96 and the Uefa Cup in 1992/93 in addition to triumphs in the Uefa Super Cup, Italian Cup and a European/South American Cup, wearing the captain's armband from 1996.

Capped 20 times by Italy, he was part of the squads that finished runners-up at the 1994 Fifa World Cup and Uefa EURO 2000.

Started coaching career as assistant at Siena in 2005, taking over Serie B side Arezzo the following season. After leading Bari and Siena to the top flight in 2009 and 2011 respectively, he signed a two-year contract with Juventus.

Wasted no time in revamping the squad and enjoyed a debut season to remember as the Bianconeri claimed the Scudetto without losing a single game, suffering their sole defeat of the season against SSC Napoli in the Coppa Italia final. Led Juventus to a second successive title in 2013 and made it three in a row the following year, before stepping down in July 2014.

Appointed Italy coach on a two-year deal a month later, he guided the Azzurri undefeated to Uefa EURO 2016 and took them to the quarterfinals in France before opting for a new challenge at Chelsea. Proved an instant success in England, winning the Premier League title and reaching the FA Cup final in his first season.

Eusebio Di Francesco

Date of birth: 8 September 1969

Nationality: Italian

Playing career: Empoli FC, AS Lucchese-Libertas, Piacenza FC (twice), AS Roma, AC Ancona, Perugia Calcio

Coaching career: SS Virtus Lanciano 1924, Pescara Calcio, US Lecce, US Sassuolo Calcio (twice), AS Roma

A pacy winger known as 'Turbo', Di Francesco came through Empoli's youth system, making his Serie A debut in 1987/88. His career really took off at Piacenza between 1995 and 1997, when he earned himself a move to Roma.

Transformed into a midfielder by Zdenek Zeman, he spent four seasons at the Stadio Olimpico, winning the 2000/01 Scudetto although he played only five games that campaign.

Having retired in 2005 after two more seasons at Piacenza and spells with Ancona and Perugia, Di Francesco – who won 12 caps for Italy – spent a year as a Roma director but the lure of coaching proved strong; that new venture

began in his native Abruzzo, first with a brief stint at Lanciano before two campaigns with Pescara.

Was appointed Lecce coach ahead of 2011/12 for his first Serie A experience, though it proved brief as Di Francesco was sacked after just 13 matches with his side bottom of the table.

Dropped back into Serie B the following season; a huge Zeman fan, Di Francesco – named after Portuguese legend Eusébio – had a brilliant start with Sassuolo using his mentor's 4-3-3 system and led the team from the Modena area into Serie A for the first time.

Di Francesco, whose son Federico plays as a winger for Bologna, coached Sassuolo in Serie A for four consecutive campaigns, although the first featured a short interruption as he was replaced for five games by Alberto Malesani, only to return and help the side avoid relegation. Known for his entertaining attacking football, Di Francesco steered Sassuolo to a first Uefa Europa League qualification by finishing sixth in Serie A in 2015/16 before replacing Luciano Spalletti as Roma coach in June 2017.


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