Coming off a 3-0 home win against Torino on Friday night. Roma are ready to open the floodgates at the Stadio Olimpico for another Champions League match up. For the second leg of this round of 16 Champions League fixture against Shakhtar Donetsk. Roma currently Trail 2-1 on aggregate to the Ukrainian side full of Brazilians. However Roma are very much in it having earned an away goal. I would say despite having a deficit Roma are slight favorites to advance to the quarterfinals. This will be a massive match between two great teams with everything on the line.
Roma were very unfortunate in the first leg in Ukraine they fizzled out in the second half which is the real reason they find themselves down in this cup tie. If they had sustained the way they played in the first half of that game in Kiev they would be looking a lot better going into this game in terms of advancing. Make no mistake Roma are probably still going to advance but if they had done a better job in the first leg their job would have been easier here. Despite losing to Milan following their loss to shakhtar Roma have looked very explosive and very clinical since their last Champions League match. Roma in the league have won five out of six games they are red hot right now and they are on the verge of cementing themselves into the Champions League places permanently. Just recently This Roma team went away to Napoli and crush them on their own turf at the San Paulo. While Roma are better away than they are at home they still managed to score four goals against the league leaders despite being dominated in a lot of in front of goal they were excellent over the last two weeks. Not only that but they finally won a convincing game at home last week against Torino a superb second-half performance earned them a much deserved victory prior to this game. Roma are in good spirits they have them playing exceptionally well and the momentum is very much in their favor going into this tough match. In that win last week Roma was without Edin Dzeko & Federico Fazio two of Roma’s best players. With both of those guys back into the lineup Roma immediately become more dangerous. That’s not to mention their home form in the Champions League at home in the Champions League they have not struggled the way they have in the League this season. Not only have they not lost their yet to concede a goal at home. Roma just need a 1-0 to close this out if they defend their home the way they have in this competition they could quite easily Come Away with the victory here to push them to the quarterfinals. I wouldn’t make too many changes to the lineup I am now in support of the 4-3-3 formation that Di Francesco has used over the last few weeks. With Dzeko and Fazio back in the lineup I wouldn’t make too many other changes I would probably put Perotti back in the starting 11 but other than that I think Roma have a strong team and are very capable of coming out of this as winners. The key player in this game is Edin Dzeko he missed last game and I think he will be looking for a blood I see a very inspired and motivated Dzeko coming into this game. another player that I think will be very crucial is Kostas Manolas Roma’s defense is actually very important in this game it’s might even be the most important thing for Roma to go through. Kostas Manolas not only scored the opening goal against Torino but his defensive display was excellent if he’s able to play at this level on Tuesday shakhtar will find it even more difficult to break through a stone wall defense. Roma will be ready for everything shakhtar will throw their way.
Shakhtar having a two-to-one advantage they know they will have a job to do given Roma’s defensive record in the Champions League. Shakhtar is well aware that’s all is needed for Roma is a 1-0 win. Shakhtar are going to have to rely on the Brazilians they have to break them down as much as they can given the quality in Allison Roma’s goalkeeper he highlighted in the first leg and trust me that Ukraine champions know what kind of player he is and how hard he will be to break down. Which is why shakhtar need to take advantage when they are on the counter attack it seems like the easiest way to break it down trying to outdo Roma and that defense and that goalkeeper will be very tough regular football tactics isn’t going to work the counter-attack is thier bread-and-butter and it is what will be most effective. Shakhtar have the weapons to do so in fact they are very dangerous when they get moving and have the ability to operate. Especially with Bernard and Tasion on their team. Those are the two players Roma should be worried about shakhtar defense and attack is pretty good but they’re not going to blow you away but that Midfield and what they can do with the speed they have can be deadly. I look for Bernard to take on to be a big part of that. This is a big game and Shakhtar are certainly ready for it this is what they truly care about the Ukraine League it’s not like the Italian League they don’t have that many competitors playing at the high level in this competition is what matters to them. They want to try to get back to the quarterfinals for the second time in their history they have the fight to do it and they will get everything they have to stop the Romans at home.
Both Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma know the importance of this game. Two of the most unlikely teams going up against each other for a place in the quarter-finals. we start to get into the business portion of his competition and both of Roma on Shakhtar want to remain a part of it. Roma are at home a place where they have been excellent during this competition. They’re going to have the support behind them and the fans will be crucial for roma playing well. Roma’s biggest job is to limit the counter attacks from the Ukrainian champions. Trying to neutralize their Brazilian Stars is a big ask but if they’re able to slow them down not allowing them to operate it will give them a huge advantage in the second leg. On the other hand the Shakhtar need to find a way to get on the counter-attack as much as they possibly can because it is their best chance of breaching Roma defense. Allison does not get beaten easily so it will take a big effort to do that. On the bright side they have the advantage going into this game even though it’s a slight one Bernard will be crucial and in them advancing in the competition. For me it’s about how to play and the competition they have been playing against since the first leg. Roma have faced Napoli who are top of the table a good Milan team and a pretty decent mid-table team in Torino. They have won five of six in the league and they are hot right now and they continue to heat up. also you need to take into account that Roma have not been scored on at home in the Champions League this season. in addition to that Dzeko and Federico Fazio did not play against Torino and will be fresh this will be problematic for Shakhtar and ultimately this is why they will struggle to hold on to their advantage. Shakhtar will make it very difficult for Roma but in the end I feel like Roma will have the advantage in more ways than one as I see the Italians advancing to the quarterfinals.
Roma’s Projected starting 11 4-3-3
GK: Alisson Becker
DEF: Alex Kolarov, Federico Fazio, Kostas Manolas, Alexandro Florenzi
DEF: Lorenzo Pellagrini, Kevin Strootman, Radja Nainggolan
Front Three: Diego Perotti, Cengiz Under, Edin Dzeko
Manager: Eusebio Di Francesco
Shakhtar projected starting 11 4-2-3-1
GK: Andriy Pyatov
DEF: Bohdan Butko,Yaroslav Rakitskiy,Ivan Ordets,Ismaily
DEF MID: Fred,Taison ATT Midfield: Bernard,Viktor Kovalenko, Marlos Strikers: Facundo Ferreyra
Manager: Paulo Fonseca
Edin Dzeko, Kostas Manolas
Date: Saturday, Tuesday March 13th , 2018
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kickoff: 2:45 PM (USA), 8:45PM (ENG), 9:45 (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Italia,ESPN3