20th of February 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Italian side AS Roma face a tricky trip on Wednesday as they meet Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk at OSC Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie. The two teams have met at the same stage of the competition back in 2011 and Shakhtar Donetsk prevailed in both legs, 3-2 in Rome and 3-0 in Ukraine. The two sides also clashed in the Champions League group stage in 2006 and Roma won their home match 4-0 before losing 1-0 in Donetsk.
Shakhtar Donetsk did very well to qualify for the first knockout round, considering that they were in the same group with Premier League leaders Manchester City and Serie A leaders Napoli. In fact, they defeated both Manchester City and Napoli in Ukraine and finished second behind the Citizens in the group table. They do have a slight disadvantage, though, as they have only played one competitive match since December 10 due to the long winter break in Ukrainian football. Maksim Malyshev is injured, while Darijo Srna is still suspended due to a positive doping test.
Roma had a great performance in the group stage this season, they finished at the top of the table in Group C ahead of big teams like Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. However, they have been failing to keep the pace with Napoli and Juventus in Serie A, and their title hopes are all gone at this point. They have won their last three league matches and are third in the league table, but just one point ahead of rivals Lazio. Rick Karsdorp and Maxime Gonalons are the only injury concerns for the away side.
Shakhtar: Pyatov - Butko, Ordets, Rakitskiy, Ismaily - Fred, Stepanenko - Marlos, Taison, Bernard - Ferreyra
Roma: Alisson - Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov - De Rossi, Strootman - Under, Nainggolan, Perotti - Dzeko
My prediction: 2-2 draw.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Shakhtar win - 2.50
Draw - 3.29
Roma win - 3.10
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Maybe Roma have some problems with their confidence, they've lost another game they probably shouldn't but despite that in the end it could be considered like a decent result for them giving the team quite good chances of progressing in the next round.
From their side I think Shakhtar still have a decent chances too so it would probably be a quite interesting second leg.
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