United strikers seek spark against Roma

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LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) Manchester United will hope the memory of last season's goal spree against Roma will spur on their attack when the Italian club return to Old Trafford tomorrow for a Champions League Group F clash.

United may be enjoying a five-match winning sequence in the Premier League but four of those were by 1-0 margins and they also enjoyed some good fortune in beating Chelsea 2-0 in the other.

It is a far cry from the rampaging Reds who crushed Roma 7-1 at Old Trafford less than six months ago after the Italians had arrived for the Champions League quarter-final, second leg protecting a 2-1 advantage.

That was United's biggest European win since the 1968-69 season and Roma's heaviest defeat but logic suggests Tuesday's match will be a much closer tussle.

''That was a fabulous result, something that happens very rarely,'' United midfielder Owen Hargreaves, who watched that match from his hotel room while preparing for Bayern Munich's clash against Real Madrid, told reporters.

''To score seven goals against a quality team is very rare. I think all the chances were taken -- fabulous goals -- and it was just a very unique, special night where Roma had no chance in the game at all.'' United have only scored eight goals in 10 competitive matches this season and Wayne Rooney, fit again after recovering from a broken foot, is yet to get off the mark.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored the winner in United 1-0 victory at Sporting Lisbon and again on Saturday against Birmingham, believes it is just a matter of time before the English champions hit top gear.

''Our good football is coming,'' he said on the United Web site (www.manutd.com). ''We have great players and the club and great staff and will improve.'' Roma, who have won just one of their 12 away games in England, will be wary of United's smouldering goal threat and a 4-1 home defeat by Inter Milan on Saturday will have added to their unease at returning to the scene of their mauling.

They have some class acts of their own, however, and talismanic skipper Francesco Totti will be determined to restore some wounded pride for the Romans.

Roma are missing defender Christian Panucci after he hurt his back against Inter, while winger Rodrigo Taddei and defender Marco Cassetti are also ruled out by injury.

United will be without first choice keeper Edwin van der Sar.

The Dutchman was replaced at halftime on Saturday by Tomasz Kuszczak after hurting his toe.

Police will be on high alert after both legs of last year's quarter-final, particularly the first leg in Rome, were marred by crowd trouble.

The Italian Foreign Ministry has warned Roma fans of possible trouble and has called for them to behave ''correctly and prudently''.

Probable teams: Manchester United: 29-Tomasz Kuszczak; 6-Wes Brown, 15-Nemanja Vidic, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 3-Patrice Evra; 16-Michael Carrick, 18-Paul Scholes, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 11-Ryan Giggs, 32-Carlos Tevez, 10-Wayne Rooney Roma: 32-Doni; 3-Cecinho, 5-Philippe Mexes, 4-Juan, 22-Max Tonetto; 14-Ludovic Giuly, 8-Alberto Aquilani, 16-Daniele De Rossi, 20-Simone Perrotta, 30 Mancini; 10-Francesco Totti.

Referee: Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain) REUTERS BJR RK0935

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