Football Italian league: Parma's power a problem for Roma

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The Independent Online
PARMA, WHO capitalised on the dismissal of Sergio Porrini to come back from a goal down to beat Rangers 3-1 (4-2 on aggregate) in the second leg of their Uefa Cup tie on Tuesday, entertain Roma in tomorrow's live Channel 4 game in Serie A.

Parma, who, despite their attacking 3-4-3 formation, have conceded just five goals in 12 games in the league this season, were mightily impressive when hammering visitors Milan 4-0 13 days ago and, last Saturday in Genoa, Parma moved up to third place - Fiorentina are top - by beating Sampdoria 2-0.

Parma, who have an awesome array of talent, look genuine contenders for the Scudetto. Gianluigi Buffon, their 20-year-old goalkeeper, is challenging Juventus's Angelo Peruzzi as Italy's first-choice, and Lilian Thuram, a World Cup-winner with France, and Fabio Cannavaro are outstanding in defence. Parma also have the brilliant Argentine playmaker Juan Sebastian Veron in midfield and, up front, their strikers include Enrico Chiesa and another Argentine, Hernan Crespo. Even without the injured Colombian striker Faustino Asprilla, Parma are close to full strength.

But if any side in Serie A can break down Parma, it is Roma, second in the table following their 5-1 annihilation of Perugia at home last Saturday. Roma's strikers Marco Delvecchio and Francesco Totti have scored 15 goals between them so far and, under the attacking policy of Zdenek Zeman, their Czech coach, Roma have become Serie A's top scorers with 26 goals. Roma are without two defenders, Brazilian right back Cafu and the Cameroon left back Pierre Wome, both injured.

Other games tomorrow: Milan v Vicenza, Udinese v Internazionale, Bari v Empoli, Bologna v Salernitana, Lazio v Sampdoria, Perugia v Cagliari, Venezia v Piacenza. Tomorrow night: Fiorentina v Juventus.