Mark Temnycky –
AS Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Thursday, 11 March 2021 – 20:00 GMT/21:00 CEST – Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
AS Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk overcame their opponents in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32. Roma will host the first leg of this tie on Thursday.
The Italians performed well in the Europa League group stage this season, where they won four of their six matches, drawing once, and losing the remaining game. The Italians kept a clean sheet in two of their six matches, and they outscored their opponents 13-5.
Roma’s hard work saw them paired with Braga in the competition’s Round of 32. The Italians extended their strong run in this year’s European competition by defeating the Portuguese 5-1 on aggregate. Roma also kept a clean sheet in one of these two games, showing that the Italians have had a strong defence.
Now, Roma will prepare for the Europa League’s Round of 16 against a familiar opponent. The Italians have faced the Ukrainians on three previous occasions, most recently during the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 in 2017/18. Moreover, current Roma manager Paulo Fonseca previously managed Shakhtar, meaning they will have an additional advantage in this tie.
Meanwhile, Shakhtar Donetsk entered this season’s European competitions via the Champions League. Despite strong performances against Real Madrid and Internazionale in the group stage, Borussia Mönchengladbach were their downfall. As a result, the Ukrainians were dumped into the Europa League for the remainder of the season.
Shakhtar were paired against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Europa League’s Round of 32 in what was an imbalanced match-up. While the tie only ended 3-0 on aggregate, the Ukrainians cruised during this portion of the competition. Their defence was rarely troubled, and Shakhtar dictated the run of play in both matches.
Roma will be a much more difficult opponent for the Ukrainians, even if they are a familiar team. Shakhtar have had the better match-up in their previous meetings, where they won four of their previous six matches. It appears, however, that Roma may have the edge in this year’s tie.
How will AS Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk fare in the first leg of this Europa League Round of 16 tie?
AS Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Players to Watch:
Henrikh Mkhitaryan #77 – AS RomaHenrikh Mkhitaryan has fared well with Roma following his arrival in 2020. The Armenian has a wealth of European experience, having played for the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Dortmund, and Manchester United. He also won the Europa League with Manchester United during the 2016/17 season. Finally, the midfielder will know this opposition well, and he will look to help his club defeat Shakhtar in the first leg of this tie.
Maycon #27 – Shakhtar DonetskWith the absence of Taras Stepanenko, Shakhtar Donetsk will turn to Maycon as the Ukrainians prepare for this Europa League tie. The young Brazilian has fared well Shakhtar following his arrival in 2018. Maycon has also scored a series of important goals in European competitions throughout his career while playing for the Ukrainians. Maycon’s composure in midfield will be an important addition for the Ukrainians as they prepare for this tie.
AS Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Match Statistics:
- This will be the fourth match-up AS Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk. The last three events occurred in the UEFA Champions League. The Italians have only won two of these previous six encounters.
- AS Roma are without the injured Nicolò Zaniolo, Riccardo Calafiori, Jordan Veretout, Roger Ibañez, and Edin Džeko.
- Shakhtar Donetsk’s Maksym Malyshev and Taras Stepanenko are injured and will not feature in this match.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: AS Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk – 3-2
AS Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Possible Lineups:
López – Mancini, Smalling, Cristante – Karsdorp, Pellegrini, Diawara, Peres – Pedro, Mkhitaryan – Mayoral
Manager: Paulo Fonseca
Trubin – Dodô, Vitão, Matviyenko, Ismaily – Maycon, Patrick – Tetê, Taison, Marlos – Moraes
Manager: Luís Castro
Mark Temnycky is an AIPS accredited journalist who covers the Ukrainian men’s national team and Ukrainian clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for the Futbolgrad Network. Follow him @MTemnycky