EL: Roma break Sporting Braga

Edin Dzeko and Borja Mayoral got the goals, as Roma have one foot in the Europa League Round of 16 with this 2-0 victory away to 10-man Sporting Braga.

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This was a return to his former club for Paulo Fonseca, but the row with Edin Dzeko dragged on, as he was brought back into the starting XI without the captain’s armband. Braga missed Andre Castro, David Carmo, Francisco Moura and Iuri Medeiros.

Roma made the perfect start in Portugal, as Leonardo Spinazzola ran down the left onto an Amadou Diawara pass and pulled it back for Dzeko to fire in first time.

However, moments later, Bryan Cristante went off injured, so Bruno Peres was the only available replacement.

Jordan Veretout misplaced the pass that would’ve sent Henrikh Mkhitaryan clear on goal, with Dzeko unable to get on the end of the Armenian’s assist.

The Giallorossi continued to waste great chances, Mkhitaryan firing straight at the defender after good work from Dzeko and Veretout.

Pedro did have the ball in the net on a Dzeko assist, but it was ruled offside using VAR.

Gonzalo Villar replaced injured Roger Ibanez and within 90 seconds had been elbowed by Ricardo Esgaio for a second yellow card, reducing Braga to 10 men.

Roma had another goal disallowed for offside, this time very tight for Mkhitaryan as he ran onto a Veretout assist.

Braga kept hanging on, Matheus making the decisive save on Dzeko when sent through by Spinazzola, then Mkhitaryan fired over after doing the hard part by shaking off two defenders.

Roma finally did get their second away goal with substitute Borja Mayoral, who finished off a well-worked team move sparked by Mkhitaryan and Veretout.

Braga 0-2 Roma

Dzeko 5 (R), Mayoral 86 (R)

Braga: Matheus; Esgaio, Tormena, Sequeira, Raul Silva; Al Musrati, Fransergio (A Horta 69), Gaitan (Ze Carlos 57); R Horta (Piazon 62), Sporar (Abel Ruiz 62), Galeno (Cristian Borja 69)

Roma: Pau Lopez; Mancini, Cristante (Peres 11), Ibanez (Villar 53); Karsdorp, Diawara, Veretout, Spinazzola; Mkhitaryan, Pedro (El Shaarawy 71); Dzeko (Mayoral 71)

Ref: Kovacs (ROU)

Sent off: Esgaio 54 (B)