Every time Roma have played another Italian team in Europe

Roma have been one of Italy’s stronger representatives in UEFA competitions in recent years, and instances of them facing fellow Serie A teams in Europe have been rather rare.

Historically, associations only tended to have one representative each in the European Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup, for example, but the modern era includes competitions with multiple clubs from certain countries.

They cannot face each other in group stages or the first knockout rounds, but if they progress far enough it is possible for them to meet – yet it hasn’t happened all too often with Roma.

Here is a recap of the three times before when they have faced another Italian side in Europe.

1991 – Inter (UEFA Cup final)

Seven years after losing the European Cup final on penalties to Liverpool, Roma reached their next continental final, this time in the UEFA Cup.

Their opponents were Inter, who had finished third in the 1989-90 Serie A to gain entry. Roma had come sixth, but the teams in fourth and fifth both went into the Cup Winners’ Cup instead (since the defending champions of that tournament, in this case Sampdoria, were eligible for the next edition too regardless of whether they retained their domestic trophy).

This was actually the second season running when two Italian teams faced off in the UEFA Cup final, after Juventus’ win over Fiorentina the year before.

Roma beat Benfica, Valencia, Bordeaux, Anderlecht and Brondby to reach the final. Inter beat Rapid Wien, Aston Villa, Partizan, Atalanta (in another all-Italian tie) and Sporting.

In those days, the UEFA Cup final was held over two legs, home and away for each team. Both teams won their home games in this final, Inter initially overcoming Roma 2-0 at San Siro with goals from Lothar Matthaus and Nicola Berti.

A fortnight later, Roma won the second leg at Stadio Olimpico, where Ruggiero Rizzitelli scored in the last 10 minutes to give Ottavio Bianchi’s side some hope. It was too little too late, though, and Inter got to lift the trophy in Rome.

Some consolation arrived soon after when Roma won that season’s Coppa Italia.

2015 – Fiorentina (Europa League)

Rudi Garcia got Roma back into the Champions League by the end of his exciting debut season as head coach, but they finished third in their group when it came around, dropping into the Europa League.

It was their first time in the proper rounds of the competition since 2010. They were drawn against Feyenoord, who had finished above eventual champions Sevilla in their group.

This was long before Roma and Feyenoord became arch-rivals in Europe, facing each other in three consecutive seasons starting with the 2022 Europa Conference League final.

Roma got through with a 3-2 aggregate win to be drawn against compatriots Fiorentina, who had finished fourth in the previous Serie A season and then been the winners of their own group before beating Tottenham in the round of 32.

Fiorentina had already knocked Roma out of that season’s Coppa Italia, so this was a chance for payback.

In the first leg, Roma fell behind in Florence to a Josip Ilicic opener. However, Seydou Keita equalised to leave things level before the return leg.

The following week, Roma collapsed. Fiorentina took a three-goal lead within 22 minutes at the Olimpico and Garcia’s side never recovered. Furthermore, by the end of the game, Adem Ljajic had been sent off against his former club for two yellow cards.

Fiorentina progressed past the next round too, but were denied a place in the final after Sevilla got their revenge.

Roma’s revenge on Fiorentina, meanwhile, was to hijack the signing of Mohamed Salah, who had played against his future employers in those European ties.

2024 – Milan (Europa League)

After progressing past Feyenoord and Brighton in the 2023-24 Europa League knockout stages, Roma were drawn against AC Milan for the first time in a continental encounter.

Although Roma hadn’t beaten Milan in Serie A for four-and-a-half years and the Rossoneri were more than 10 points above them in the league table, Daniele De Rossi inspired La Magica to hard-fought victories in both legs of the quarter-final.

Gianluca Mancini scored the only goal at San Siro and then opened the scoring back at Stadio Olimpico, before Paulo Dybala made it 2-0 on the night.

A debatable red card for Zeki Celik reduced Roma to 10 men within the first half, but it was barely evident as they continued to impose control over the tie. Milan’s only way past Mile Svilar was a late consolation by Matteo Gabbia.

It ensured Roma set up a second consecutive Europa League semi-final against recently-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen.

This article was originally published on 16th March 2024 and has been updated since.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.