Roma will look to overturn a first leg deficit against Shakhtar Donetsk to make it to the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
AS Roma will take on Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday night.
The first-leg in Ukraine a few weeks ago ended 2-1 in favour of Shakhtar, as they came back from being a goal down after Cengiz Under had given Roma the lead, with Facundo Ferreyra and Fred finding the net for the hosts.
Following the loss, Roma were beaten by AC Milan in the Serie A, but they bounced back with two impressive wins over title contenders Napoli and Torino. And manager Eusebio di Francesco will be hoping that his side carry the momentum in Tuesday’s game and end the club’s decade long wait to make it to the last eight of the competition.
Shakhtar, on the other hand, have won all their three matches following the first leg triumph against Roma, scoring 11 goals in the process without conceding even one. However, their away form in this season’s Champions League is a bit of a concern, given that they lost two of their three away games in the group stages.
Team News & Tactics
The Giallorossi will go into the game without the services of defender Rick Karsdorp while there is a doubt over the availability of striker Gregoire Defrel. Daniele De Rossi picked up a knock in the win over Torino last week, but is expected make a recovery and be available for Tuesday’s clash.
Alisson Becker has been enjoying a sensational campaign between the sticks for Roma and is expected to retain his spot. The full-back slots will be taken up by Alessandro Florenzi and Aleksandar Kolarov on the right and the left side respectively, while Kostas Manolas and Federico Fazio are likely to line up at the heart of the defence.
In the centre of the park, the midfield trio of Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan are expected to feature from the get-go for Roma. The three midfielders offer great balance to the side and will be key for the home team if they are to cease control of the tie.
The goalscorer for Roma from the first leg, Cengiz Under, will once again start out on the right-flank while the left-side will be occupied by Diego Perotti. Through the middle, it will be former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko, who will carry the biggest goal threat for the Italian outfit.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Florenzi, Fazio, Manolas, Kolarov; Nainggolan, De Rossi, Strootman; Under, Dzeko, Perotti;
Sergey Krivtsov has been sidelined since picking up an injury in the first leg and is expected to miss out here. Maksim Malyshev is also sidelined for Shakhtar Donetsk. Defensive mainstay Darijo Srna is ruled out of the game due to suspension which will be a big blow for the Ukrainian outfit.
Andriy Pyatov is expected to continue guarding the goal for Paulo Fonseca’s side. He will be shielded by a back four comprising of Bogdan Butko and Ismaily in the full-back slots with Ivan Ordets and Yaroslav Rakitiskiy in the centre of the backline. How they deal with the threat of Dzeko and Under will be a key deciding factor in the game.
The two pivot positions in the middle of the park will be taken up by first leg goalscorer Fred and Taras Stepanenko. The duo’s primary duty will be protect their back four but will be encouraged to drive up the field when their team is on the front foot.
Marlos has been in good form for the Ukrainians of late and he will provide them with the cutting edge from the right side, while his fellow Brazilian forward Bernard will look to do the same from the opposite flank. Another Brazilian, Taison, will start in the central attacking midfield role and try to pull the strings for Shakhtar, with Facundo Ferreyra expected to spearhead the attack.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Butko, Ordets, Rakitiskiy, Ismaily; Fred, Stepanenko; Marlos, Taison, Bernard; Ferreyra;
- Shakhtar Donetsk have won four and lost one of their five previous meetings with AS Roma.
- The Ukrainian outfit have scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 matches against Roma in all competitions.
- However, Shakhtar have failed to score in six of their last seven away games in the Champions League.
- Roma haven’t conceded a single goal in their last three games at the Stadio Olimpico in the Champions League.
Player to watch
Cengiz Under (Roma)
The 20-year old Turkish winger has been the in-form man for Roma in recent weeks and has scored six goals in Roma’s last seven matches in all competitions. Under also bagged the opener in the first leg of this tie in Ukraine and will once again look to cause problems to the Shakhtar defence with his blistering pace and directness, cutting in from the right wing.
AS Roma 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Roma are coming into the game on the back of two very good results and despite trailing on aggregate, they do have the slight benefit of having scored an away goal in the first leg. Given their solid form at home in Europe this season, coupled with Shakhtar’s struggles on the road, we at the Hard Tackle predict a 2-0 win for the Giallorossi on Tuesday.