Italian Serie A

Riise's form has Roma eyeing ninth straight win

February 11, 2010

Second-placed AS Roma will be hoping for more of the same from John Arne Riise as they aim for their ninth consecutive win when they host Palermo in Serie A on Saturday.

Norway fullback Riise has been in great form this season after he made a struggling start to his Roma career following his move from Premier League side Liverpool in 2008

Riise often looked clumsy and out of his depth trying to grasp the Italian top flight's tactical demands in a difficult first season, as his side missed out on Champions League qualification.

This term, however, Riise has come to exemplify the never-say-die spirit of a side that has won many matches late on under coach Claudio Ranieri, who replaced Luciano Spalletti following a poor start.

"I always give my all and the fans have recognised this, which is why they cheer for me," Riise told reporters.

The Norwegian has also been affective coming forward of late, scoring twice in the last three league games for a team without their fulcrum and captain Francesco Totti through injury.

Totti is a major doubt for Saturday's game after pulling up in training on Wednesday with a knee problem, while fellow forward Luca Toni is still out with a calf injury.

Visitors Palermo are also in fine fettle and challenging for Champions League qualification after a strong run that has lifted them to fifth.

They will be without suspended midfielder Antonio Nocerino as they bid to stop Roma claiming their ninth successive win in all competitions and extending their unbeaten run to 20 games.

Leaders Inter Milan, who are nine points ahead of Roma after Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Parma, face fourth-placed Napoli away on Sunday.

Third-placed AC Milan, who are two points behind Roma with a game in hand, take on Udinese at the San Siro on Friday.

The game has been moved forward to give the home side extra time to prepare for Tuesday's Champions League last 16, first leg match against Manchester United.

Seventh-placed Juventus meet Genoa at home on Sunday with new coach Alberto Zaccheroni looking for his first win after two draws.