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ROMA-MILAN

GOALKEEPERS: Dida, Fiori, Kalac;

DEFENDERS: Bonera, Digao, Favalli, Kaladze, Maldini, Oddo, Simic;

MIDFIELDERS: Ambrosini, Brocchi, Emerson, Gattuso, Kaka, Pirlo, Seedorf;

STRIKERS: Gilardino, Pato, Paloschi.

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Seedorf issues Pato warning

Clarence Seedorf has warned Milan’s fans not to put too much pressure on Alexandre Pato and reiterated the importance of securing fourth place.

Teen sensation Pato has made a lightning start to life in Italy and is already a crucial figure at San Siro, but there are fears that he has too great a burden on his young shoulders.

“He is a fantastic talent, but we already knew that,” the Dutch midfielder told Sky Sport Italia.

“I have always tried to calm the hysteria, but not because I don’t want him to be praised.

“Look at what happened to Adriano – he became the Emperor of Inter at 22-years-old, but he didn’t have the moral or mental capacity to be a leader and now look at where he is.”

This weekend sees a huge clash between Roma and Milan and a win is vital for the world champions’ bid to take part in next season’s Champions League.

“We are proud of what we have achieved, but now we are obviously thinking about finishing fourth and building a future,” Seedorf stressed.

“From next season we want to be competitive in Europe and also in the other competitions.

“When you are in the top few you always have a chance and our winning cycle won’t be over. But there won’t be a future if we aren’t in the Champions League.”

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Seedorf returns for Roma

Carlo Ancelotti is breathing a sigh of relief with the news that Clarence Seedorf will be fit for Milan’s crunch match against Roma tomorrow.

With the race for Champions League qualification finely poised, Milan know that they need to return from Rome with something to show for their efforts.

Fiorentina host Genoa on Sunday and it is essential that the Diavolo don’t allow the Tuscans to extend their single-point advantage in fourth place.

Seedorf has been a costly absentee for Ancelotti since picking up a thigh injury against Lazio at the start of the month and was sorely missed during Milan’s Champions League clash with Arsenal.

Now, the Dutchman is set to start at the Stadio Olimpico and Ancelotti is expected to return to a Christmas Tree formation.

The news will come as a disappointment to Alberto Gilardino and Yoann Gourcuff with the duo set to sit on the bench in the Eternal City.

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AS Roma 2:1 AC Milan - match report

Scorers: Kaka 56', Giuly 78', Vucinic 81'

Ludovic Giuly and Mirko Vucinic overturned Kaka's goal in three minutes for Roma's 2-1 victory over Milan.

There was a great deal at stake at the Olimpico, as the Giallorossi needed to keep up the pressure on Inter and the visitors had to maintain their race for a top four finish. Gennaro Gattuso returned from suspension, but Alessandro Nesta, Nelson Dida, Serginho, Marek Jankulovski, Ronaldo, Pippo Inzaghi and former Roma hero Marcos Cafu didn't make the trip. This meant Carlo Ancelotti - an ex-Giallorossi hero as a player - was able to field a Christmas Tree formation.

Christian Panucci performed a perfectly-timed challenge to tackle Kaka in the box, while Giuseppe Favalli had to clear for a corner when a dangerous Amantino Mancini cross found the Milan defence unprepared.

Zeljko Kalac's poor clearance was straight at Simone Perrotta and risked giving away a goal, but 30 seconds later Alexandre Pato's chipped cross was just too high for Clarence Seedorf.

The first real chance was on 25 minutes when De Rossi's cross was flicked on by Totti and Mancini's acrobatic scissor-kick was over the bar. Moments later Milan threatened too, as Seedorf went past two defenders and Alexandre Doni plucked Kaka's header out of the air.

Totti found space from nine yards on a chipped Rodrigo Taddei pass over the defence, but flashed his shot across the face of goal.

Seedorf dribbled past four defenders to enter the area, but eventually Taddei managed to cut off his path as the last man with a crucial intervention. Kaka nodded a Favalli cross wide of the far post.

Totti rolled back for the unmarked David Pizarro, but his scuffed shot and a Juan attempted deflection were off target.

Max Tonetto's cross from the left was a couple of inches too high for Totti to connect a header from six yards in first half stoppages. At the half-time whistle Totti and Luciano Spalletti were furious, as a corner was halted for an irregularity.

Straight after the restart Seedorf slipped a pass through the crowd of defenders for Kaka, but the Brazilian had a powerful effort parried from seven yards by one strong Doni hand.

Moments later Doni was again called into action with a low one-handed save at the near post on Seedorf, as Milan were far more aggressive in the second half.

Milan were piling on the pressure and opened the scoring on 56 minutes. Massimo Oddo had acres of space down the right channel to run onto Andrea Pirlo's pass and crossed for Kaka to smash under the bar from eight yards with the inside of his left foot.

Totti had a great chance to equalise, but the move was halted for an evident handling offence.

The Rossoneri really should have been 2-0 up on the hour mark. Seedorf combined brilliantly with Pato and the Dutchman squirmed past Doni, but lost his footing from that challenge and Cicinho was able to get back for a goalline clearance.

Ludovic Giuly and Mirko Vucinic were introduced to spice up the Roma attack, but Milan kept pushing and Pirlo's pass over the defence found Kaka totally unmarked for a half-volley that Doni palmed over the bar.

Zeljko Kalac smothered a Vucinic snapshot, but on the counter Pato skipped past Juan and jumped over Doni, earning only a booking for simulation. Emerson replaced Seedorf and was greeted with jeers by the Roma crowd, as he had left the club controversially to join rivals Juventus.

Totti's backheel sent Vucinic clear and he fired over, while Pato selfishly went for goal.

Roma equalised in chaotic circumstances 12 minutes from time. The ball ricocheted around and Perrotta eventually managed to thread a pass through for the utterly unmarked Giuly to volley in from eight yards.

Paolo Maldini's challenge prevented Perrotta from giving them the lead 60 seconds later, but Vucinic turned the game around completely! He sprung the offside trap on a De Rossi ball from the right to slide an angled drive past Kalac.

It wasn't over yet and Totti's lob was just too wide and it was end to end stuff in these final minutes. There was more bad news for the Rossoneri, as Kaka pulled up with lower back pain, something that has been troubling him for some time.

Kalac saved from Giuly and Totti didn't get enough power to a header from Vucinic's cross, but in stoppages Milan players were queuing up and couldn't make contact with Oddo and Pirlo crosses, as Alberto Gilardino took it off Alberto Paloschi's head. The last kick of the game was a Pirlo free kick over the bar.

Roma: Doni; Cicinho, Panucci, Juan, Tonetto; De Rossi, Pizarro (Giuly 62); Taddei (Aquilani 72), Perrotta, Mancini (Vucinic 56); Totti

Milan: Kalac; Oddo, Maldini, Kaladze, Favalli; Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini (Gilardino 85); Kaka (Paloschi 87), Seedorf (Emerson 72); Pato

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KAKA AND SEEDORF'S CONDITIONS

MILAN - Ricky Kaka has a problem to his back, which forced him to leave the pitch before the end of Roma-Milan: the entity of the injury and the Brazilian's conditions will be evaluated in the next few days. The same goes for Clarence Seedorf: he has a problem to his left thigh.

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Player Ratings: Roma 2-1 Milan

Late goals from Ludovic Giuly and Mirko Vucinic cancelled out Kaká's opener to give Roma a 2-1 victory over AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico

Kalac 3.5 – Hard to be positive here. Looked nervous throughout, didn’t command his box, was dodgy with clearances and probably shouldn’t have let Vucinic beat him at his near post.

Oddo 6 – Awful before the break with unconvincing defending and disappointing crosses, but far more assured in the second half and gave a superb assist for the goal. Less to blame for the late mistakes than the rest of the back line.

Maldini 6.5 – Had an outstanding game, commanding at the back and ruthless going forward – only to then play a leading role in the late collapse.

Kaladze 4.5 – It’s clear the Georgian isn’t yet on top form – looked very fragile in the first half and his indecision proved costly at the end.

Favalli 5.5 – Looked fairly comfortable at the back and got forward well but things changed with the emergence of Giuly.

Gattuso 5.5 – Struggled to stamp his authority on this game.

Pirlo 6 – Wasteful with his own chances but delivered some terrific passes, not least in the build-up to the goal.

Ambrosini 5 – Clearly a loser in the battle of the midfield

Kaka 6.5 – Sloppy at times, brilliant at others. Got the goal and always carried a threat.

Seedorf 7 – Probably Milan’s best player even though he squandered a great chance to make it 2-0. Things fell apart only when he was subbed.

Pato 5.5 – Poor final balls didn’t help his cause but then he didn’t make use of what he was given either. Terrible dive.

Substitutes

72mins Emerson (NA); 85mins Gilardino (NA); 88mins Paloschi (NA)

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MILAN - SAMPDORIA

GOALKEEPERS: Dida, Kalac, Fiori,

DEFENDERS: Bonera, Favalli, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Nesta, Oddo,

MIDFIELDERS: Ambrosini, Brocchi, Emerson, Gattuso, Gourcuff, Kakà, Pirlo, Seedorf,

STRIKERS: Gilardino, Pato, Paloschi.

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