It took Roma almost seven years to break their San Siro curse, but they finally did it tonight. Gianluca Mancini’s first-half header inspired Giallorossi to a narrow 1-0 win against Milan in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie. 

Fresh off a morale-boosting 1-0 triumph against arch-rivals Lazio at the weekend, Roma touched down at San Siro, seeking revenge for a nine-match winless run against Milan. Daniele De Rossi’s side didn’t have to wait long to draw first blood.

Paulo Dybala’s teasing corner-kick delivery found Manini on the edge of the six-yard box. The Italian defender rose above everyone to put the ball in the back of the net, firing Roma 1-0 up. It was nothing less than the visitors deserved. 

However, De Rossi resorted to Jose Mourinho’s tactics for the rest of the game. Roma seemed more focused on prolonging possession spells and time-wasting techniques than trying to double their advantage. They nearly got punished for such a flagrant approach down the final stretch.

Samuel Chukwueze breezed past his markers and set Olivier Giroud up on a platter. But the experienced striker inexplicably hit the crossbar from point-blank range, allowing Roma to return to the Stadio Olimpico triumphant for the first time since May 2017. 

De Rossi’s defensive set-up functioned like clockwork, denying Milan’s effort to annul Mancini’s opener with relative comfort. With half of the job done, Roma will look forward to next week’s return leg as we present our player ratings.

Roma (4-3-3)

Mile Svilar – 7.5

Though not all of Milan’s 25 shots, including five on target, were dangerous, the young gun was up to the task in every situation that required his services.

Zeki Celik – 7.5

Not many Serie A defenders can brag about having Rafael Leao in their back pocket. But the Turk earned that privilege with an outstanding defensive performance.

Chris Smalling – 7

In a battle of two veterans, the Englishman got better of Giroud almost every time. Equally dependable on the ground and in the air, he barely put his foot wrong tonight.

Gianluca Mancini – 8

The match-winning strike was a fitting reward for the Italian’s faultless display. It was a performance worthy of an Italy international, which should put a smile on Luciano Spalletti’s face ahead of Euro 2024.

Leonardo Spinazzola – 7

Following an impressive first half, packed with highlight moments, the left-back relinquished his attacking ambitions after the break despite picking Davide Calabria apart.

Lorenzo Pellegrini – 7

His calmness on the ball, pinpoint passing, and superb vision were precious for Roma tonight as Milan seemed powerless against Pellegrini’s supreme technique.

Bryan Cristante – 6.5

If it wasn’t for his tireless runs in front of Roma’s backline, one would wonder why’s De Rossi still playing him, given he was useless in the build-up again.

Leandro Paredes – 7.5

There’s no doubt that this was his best performance for Roma this season! He didn’t lose a single duel and was confident on the ball.

Stephan El Shaarawy – 7

Though he had nothing to show for it in the end, the ex-Milan winger enjoyed a fantastic game. 

Paulo Dybala – 7.5

Apart from the assist, the Argentine wizard was at the thick of every Roma attack, drawing numerous fouls and giving his defenders much-needed breathing space. 

Romelu Lukaku – 7

While he never had a clear sight of goal, he used his strength and positioning to perfection, winning virtually every duel against Matteo Gabbia and Malick Thiaw.

Substitutes

Tammy Abraham – 5.5

Houssem Aouar – N/A

Edoardo Bove – N/A

Diego Llorente – N/A

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By admin

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