This article titled “Roma 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk: Champions League (agg: 2-2, Roma win on away goals) – as it happened” was written by Simon Burnton, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 13th March 2018 21.46 UTC
And that is very much that. It’s been fun. Less fun than I had hoped, overall, but nevertheless fun. Thanks for being here. Bye!
A game of very few chances and tight margins. On one occasion one defender got his positioning very slightly but very importantly wrong, and Edin Dzeko took his chance with admirable calm.
Final score: Roma 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (aggregate score 2-2; Roma progress on away goals)
90+5 mins: And that’s it! Roma are in the quarter-finals!
90+4 mins: Then Ismaily nicely tricks his way past two red shirts on the left, passes to Taison and goes for the return – but it’s overhit! Goal kick.
90+4 mins: Chance! Roma fluff the throw-in, it’s stolen away from them and crossed into the middle, but nobody gets on the end of it!
90+3 mins: Rakitskiy tries to pick out Ismaily on the left wing, but overhits his pass and the ball goes out for a throw-in.
90+2 mins: The ball comes to Florenzi, midway into Roma’s half, and he just wallops it randomly downfield.
90+1 mins: The entire first minute of added time is taken up with Shakhtar taking a series of throw-ins down the left wing, all in their own half.
90+1 mins: There will be about four minutes of stoppage time.
89 mins: Roma
waste some time make a substitution – Dzeko goes off, and Stephan El Shaarawy comes on.
88 mins: But Alan Patrick’s shot is frankly a bit bobbins, and goes straight into the wall, not even very quickly.
88 mins: De Rossi hangs out a leg and fouls Alan Patrick, giving Shakhtar a fine shooting chance from the free kick, 25 yards out.
87 mins: Taison plays a nice ball to Ismaily, but Manolas whisks it away again with a lovely challenge.
85 mins: Shakhtar have the ball on the edge of the area, but three players refuse opportunities to shoot from central areas, and in the end Butko’s low cross from the right is easily cleared.
84 mins: The match has totally changed in character now – obviously the away side is more desperate, but the crowd is whistling wildly and there’s all sorts of niggly pushing and poking going on out there.
82 mins: Time for one final roll of those dice: Shakhtar take off Marlos and bring on Dentinho.
82 mins: All of which only further delays the free kick, from which Kolarov eventually clips the top of the wall.
80 mins: Remarkable scenes! With no ball on the pitch, and the visitors keen to get on with things two Shakhtar players run over and assault a ballboy – who has one in his arms – shoving him over some advertising hoardings and prompting some extended handbags. Ferreyra is booked for his part.
Red Card! Shakhtar go down to 10 men!
79 mins: Dzeko gets in front of Ivan Ordets and runs free, and the defender eventually tugs his shirt to stop him reaching the penalty area unhindered. He is inevitably given his marching orders!
78 mins: Shakhtar aren’t really doing any compelling attacking. Meanwhile, Sevilla are now 2-0 up at Old Trafford.
76 mins: Shakhtar, with Roma in deep defensive mode, work the ball about, but then Strootman and Perotti gang up to dispossess Fred, who has to resort to foul means to prevent a break and is booked.
74 mins: Elsewhere, Sevilla have gone a goal up at Old Trafford.
73 mins: Chance for Roma! Dzeko is the creator this time, playing the ball low from the left, across the defence to Gerson, who turns down the chance to take a first-time shot and instead dallies long enough for a defender to get back and get in the way of his belated effort.
70 mins: Shakhtar have the ball for a while, but Roma are narrow, compact, and they just can’t find a way through. When they eventually lose it, Stepanenko fouls Perotti and is booked.
67 mins: Roma win the ball on the edge of their area and break. Perotti carries it 40 yards and passes to Dzeko, who takes it into the area and then shoots high.
65 mins: Gerson comes on for Roma, replacing the hard-working but largely ineffective Cengiz Under. “Edin Dzeko is one of these players whose happiness I find infectious,” writes Kari Tulinius. “He seems like such a fundamentally agreeable and well-balanced guy, and his joyful smile lights up stadiums and screens. Even aside from the fact that he had to suffer through the Siege of Sarajevo in childhood, I can’t but wish all the best for the Bosnian Diamond.” Indeed – here’s some further reading:
62 mins: Ooooh! Strootman’s long ball finds Nainggolan, whose first touch to bring it under control is delicious. He slides it inside to Dzeko, whose first-time shot beats Pyatov, but goes just wide of the far post.
60 mins: Shakhtar are prodding and pushing, but already with an air of frantic near-desperation, rather than a measured plan. There’s plenty of time yet.
56 mins: Fantastic tackle from De Rossi! Ismaily bursts into the penalty area and through a gap in the home defence, but De Rossi flings out a leg and takes the ball cleanly, with no margin for error.
55 mins: Another chance for Roma! The ball is played along the edge of the area from right to left and ends with Perotti, whose first-time, right-foot shot is poor, and straight at Pyatov.
54 mins: Roma players surround the referee, and Manolas is booked. It’s hard to say why, but the most likely answer is the fury he showed about the awarding of a throw-in to Shakhtar.
53 mins: Strootman’s ball over the top to Dzeko is perfectly weighted, and Butko at right-back is lingering a couple of yards behind the rest of the back four and playing him onside. Pyatov comes out, and Dzeko calmly poked the ball through his legs and in from the edge of the area!
GOAL! Roma 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (Dzeko, 52 mins)
Finally Roma crack the offside trap, and they take the lead!
48 mins: Shakhtar’s night so far is basically the story of an excellently coached and positioned back four, and Roma’s inability to get through or over them. Their latest attempt ends with Nainggolan being given offside.
46 mins: Peeeeeep! Shakhtar get the second half started.
The players come back out. Roma must score in the next 45 minutes, or they are out.
Here, do yourself a favour and watch this instead:
Half time: Roma 0-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
45+1 mins: After a couple of seconds’ stoppage time – the ball has barely stopped moving all half, it just hasn’t gone anywhere very interesting – the referee blows his whistle and heads off for a breather.
45 mins: The ball is thrown to Nainggolan, inside Shakhtar’s penalty area. He backs into Stepanenko and goes down, optimistically. The referee, who has had a very good game so far, ignores him.
43 mins: The ball is played to Ferreyra, just inside the penalty area, but as he turns and prepares to shoot Fazio and Manolas combine to get in his way.
41 mins: “Both sides have got gears to go through, it might just open up in the second half,” says Don Hutchison, optimistically. With Roma requiring a goal, surely it’ll get properly interesting at some point. At the moment Shakhtar’s high defensive line is forcing Roma to attempt difficult long passes over the top, which they’re yet to get right.
40 mins: Nainggolan plays Cengis through, but again the pass was just a fraction of a second late, and with Shakhtar playing a high line the flag goes up.
39 mins: Florenzi tugs Taison’s shirt as Shakhtar attempt another break. It was only a gentle tug, but it may have disrupted the Brazilian’s stride, and the defender is booked for it.
37 mins: Perrotti brilliantly controls a long ball, but his shot from range flashes wide.
34 mins: Roma win a corner, which they play low to Nainggolan, at the edge of the area. His low shot is blasted into a Shakhtar player and suddenly the visitors break in numbers. It ends with Florenzi’s rather desperate but perfectly clean sliding challenge on Ismaily just inside his penalty area.
33 mins: Fazio tries to take on Ferreyra and loses it, and with nobody behind him but the goalkeeper Ferreyra runs into the penalty area, to the right of goal and – with Fazio putting him under pressure – shanks his shot wide.
30 mins: Half an hour gone, and neither goalkeeper yet forced into a save of note, which is disappointing.
28 mins: And a shot! Taison takes it, from 25 yards or so, but it flies – at pace – over the bar.
27 mins: Ismaily’s cross is headed behind by Kolarov, and Shakhtar have another corner, which Florenzi heads away.
24 mins: A nice Roma move ends with a low cross from Kolarov, but Pyatov dives to his left to palm it away.
21 mins: Now Strootman crosses to Dzeko, who takes two defenders with him and backheels into the space he left behind, but none of his team-mates has anticipated his touch, and a defender clears.
19 mins: Roma play the ball into the area, where Strootman is prevented from running onto it by Butko, who appeared to grab a fistful of shirt in doing so. I could be wrong, though, as the Roma player didn’t fling himself to the ground, and the referee saw nothing untoward.
17 mins: Shakhtar are perhaps looking the better side. Marlos wins and takes a corner, but it’s headed clear.
13 mins: No real, genuine chances yet, but this has all been very encouraging – play screaming from one end to the other, both sides committed to attack. Perrotti messes up Roma’s latest foray forwards by unaccountably passing to Fred.
10 mins: The ball is driven into the six-yard box, where Florenzi’s flicked header takes the ball across goal and only just wide of the far post.
10 mins: Taison comes inside from the left flank and takes on Florenzi, who stops the ball with his hand. Free kick, just outside the area.
7 mins: Shakhtar are having a bit of a moment now, and have just forced a second corner.
5 mins: Nainggolan sets up Dzeko again, but he plays the pass just a moment too late, and the striker is offside.
3 mins: Shakhtar finally try to break, Marlos is tripped and he executes a fabulous octuple sideways roll, just to make sure the referee spotted it. He did. Free kick.
2 mins: Roma do indeed appear to have a “strong desire to do damage to their opponents” – they have spent the entire first two minutes attacking.
1 min: Peeeeep! Roma get the game under way, and Dzeko has a shot in the 23rd second! It’s set up by Nainggolan, who for a moment seemed about to have a genuinely good chance but was forced to turn away from goal, and it’s not good enough to trouble Pyatov.
They are no longer in the tunnel – they are out, have listened to the tournament anthem, shaken hands and are now ready to rock.
The players are in the tunnel! Well, Roma’s players are, anyway.
What’s Ukrainian for “say cheese”? Don’t know? Neither did whoever took these:
Here are the Roma players undertaking some kind of chest-bumping, hand-clasping team-bonding ritual in a car park:
This just in from the Stadio Olimpico – look out for one very wet penalty area.
Team sheets have been handed in, and these were the names upon them:
Roma: Alisson, Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov, Nainggolan, De Rossi, Strootman, Under, Dzeko, Perotti. Subs: Skorupski, Juan Jesus, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Schick, Bruno Peres, Gerson, El Shaarawy.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov, Butko, Ordets, Rakitskiy, Ismaily, Marlos, Fred, Stepanenko, Bernard, Taison, Ferreyra. Subs: Kudryk, Khocholava, Dentinho, Alan Patrick, Petryak, Zubkov, Kovalenko.
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain).
Other than Besiktas, 5-0 down to Bayern Munich after their first leg, and Sevilla, whose tie against Manchester United is delicately balanced heading into tonight’s second leg and whose odds reflect the impact on the market of all those optimistic United fans, these two clubs are the rank outsiders of the Champions League betting market. Shakhtar are runaway leaders of Ukraine’s Premier League, have won their last six games in all competitions by an aggregate scoreline of 20-1, have one of Europe’s most in-form forwards in Facundo Ferreyra and beat Manchester City in the group stages, but the world is unimpressed. Roma are third in Serie A, and though they trail 2-1 after the first leg the tie seems very nicely balanced. “I think Roma must be both light-hearted and extremely motivated entering this match,” says their coach, Eusebio Di Francesco. “ We must not be cocky but still we must have that strong desire to do damage to our opponents.”
And there is nothing that sets this neutral’s heart a-flutter more than hearing a coach talk of his “desire to do damage” to his opponents. So with a bucketful of hope and a goblet overflowing with cheer, may I say a hearty hello! Let’s enjoy this together. Team news comin’ right up.
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