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Alisson: ‘Roma still alive’

Roma goalkeeper Alisson performed heroics in the 2-1 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk and insists “the tie is still alive, we had a perfect first half.”

The first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 had started strong with Cengiz Under’s strike, but Facundo Ferreyra pounced on a defensive error and Fred’s free kick ricocheted in off the underside of the bar.

“The goal-line clearance at the end was all Bruno Peres. He came on really well and made a good impact.

“We scored the first goal and our first half was almost perfect, but when you leave space to Shakhtar, they have so much quality that they will hurt you,” the goalkeeper told Mediaset Premium.

“Obviously 2-1 is not the result we wanted, but we are alive in this tie and our minds go to the next game in Serie A.

 

“We didn’t fall apart at all. Our team does have some difficulties dealing with those moments, but we have to keep our cool. Let’s not forget the first half was an excellent performance, Shakhtar have quality and the details made the difference tonight.”

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CL: Shakhtar turn Roma around

Cengiz Under had given Roma the half-time lead in Ukraine, but Facundo Ferreyra and Fred gave Shakhtar Donetsk a 2-1 first leg result.

See how the whole evening unfolded on the LIVEBLOG.

This was the first leg in the Round of 16 and took place in Kharkiv, as the stadium in Donetsk was damaged by the civil war. Shakhtar had knocked Napoli out of the Champions League, while the Giallorossi topped their group ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. Darijo Srna was suspended after failing a doping test and Maksum Malyshev was injured, while Alessandro Florenzi started despite a flu bug and on-form Cengiz Under received his Champions League debut.

Both sides had early chances, as Aleksandar Kolarov did enough to stop a Fred tap-in, then on a corner Edin Dzeko was denied from close range by Andriy Pyatov.

Marlos cut inside Kolarov and his cross-shot went through Alisson’s legs, but the goalkeeper caught it with a trailing hand.

The Kostas Manolas free header from a corner was wide, but even worse was Dzeko passing it to Pyatov at the end of a well-worked move between Under and Diego Perotti.

Perotti cut inside past two only for Dzeko’s weak finish to be charged down, then Rakitskiy made an acrobatic mid-air interception to stop Under sending Radja Nainggolan clear.

Dzeko was decisive in the end with a perfect assist, his slide-rule pass sending Cengiz Under clear down the right and the finish bounced off desperate Pyatov into the empty net. It was his fifth goal in four competitive games and a perfect way to mark his first ever Champions League appearance.

There was another serious blow for Shakhtar before the break, as defender Serhiy Kryvstov landed very badly on his ankle, spraining it visibly, and had to be stretchered off.

Straight after the restart, Shakhtar got their equaliser thanks to a massive defensive error. Florenzi, who had been in doubt to the last minute with a stomach bug, failed to cut out a through ball when caught too far upfield and Facundo Ferreyra sprinted past Manolas to fire in.

Florenzi made a similar error moments later, then Marlos was found unmarked from 10 yards only to be denied by a spectacular Alisson save with his wrist.

The Brazilian goalkeeper out-did himself with an even more stunning save, flying to claw a Taison strike one-handed out of the far top corner.

However, Alisson was finally beaten when Fred curled a free kick in off the underside of the crossbar, where the goalkeeper just couldn’t reach, to turn the game around completely.

The visibly unwell Florenzi and Cengiz Under made way for Bruno Peres and Gerson, the Brazilian midfielder forcing two saves from Pyatov.

It was almost 3-1 to the hosts with the last kick of the game after another defensive error, but Alisson and Bruno Peres combined to clear off the line from Ferreyra.

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Roma

Cengiz Under 41 (R), Ferreyra 52 (S), Fred 71 (S)

Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov; Butko, Kryvtsov (Ordets 45), Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Fred, Stepanenko; Marlos, Taison, Bernard (Kovalenko 91); Ferreyra

Roma: Alisson; Florenzi (Peres 72), Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; De Rossi, Strootman; Cengiz Under (Gerson 72), Nainggolan (Defrel 82), Perotti; Dzeko

Ref: Collum (SCO)

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HT: Under strikes in Ukraine!

Cengiz Under has given Roma the half-time lead in Ukraine by scoring on his Champions League debut against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Follow all the action as it happens and give your views on the LIVEBLOG.

This was the first leg in the Round of 16 and took place in Kharkiv, as the stadium in Donetsk was damaged by the civil war. Shakhtar had knocked Napoli out of the Champions League, while the Giallorossi topped their group ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. Darijo Srna was suspended after failing a doping test and Maksum Malyshev was injured, while Alessandro Florenzi started despite a flu bug and on-form Cengiz Under received his Champions League debut.

Both sides had early chances, as Aleksandar Kolarov did enough to stop a Fred tap-in, then on a corner Edin Dzeko was denied from close range by Andriy Pyatov.

Marlos cut inside Kolarov and his cross-shot went through Alisson’s legs, but the goalkeeper caught it with a trailing hand.

The Kostas Manolas free header from a corner was wide, but even worse was Dzeko passing it to Pyatov at the end of a well-worked move between Under and Diego Perotti.

Perotti cut inside past two only for Dzeko’s weak finish to be charged down, then Rakitskiy made an acrobatic mid-air interception to stop Under sending Radja Nainggolan clear.

Dzeko was decisive in the end with a perfect assist, his slide-rule pass sending Cengiz Under clear down the right and the finish bounced off desperate Pyatov into the empty net. It was his fifth goal in four competitive games and a perfect way to mark his first ever Champions League appearance.

There was another serious blow for Shakhtar before the break, as defender Serhiy Kryvstov landed very badly on his ankle, spraining it visibly, and had to be stretchered off.

Shakhtar Donetsk 0-1 Roma (Half-Time)

Cengiz Under 41 (R)

Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov; Butko, Kryvtsov (Ordets 45), Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Fred, Stepanenko; Marlos, Taison, Bernard; Ferreyra

Roma: Alisson; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; De Rossi, Strootman; Cengiz Under, Nainggolan, Perotti; Dzeko

Ref: Collum (SCO)

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EDF: ‘Shakhtar more Brazilian’

Roma Coach Eusebio Di Francesco explained “the most important thing” before kick-off against Shakhtar Donetsk, “who are more Brazilian than European.”

The first leg of the Round of 16 kicks off in Kharkiv at 19.45 GMT.

Follow the build-up and action as it happens on the LIVEBLOG.

“I am very happy to be in the position of playing this game, with the ambition of targeting the quarter-finals,” the Coach told Roma TV.

“We are facing a strong side, less physical than us, but with a lot of quality. They invite pressure and know how to counter, but we mustn’t change our shape.

“Shakhtar are more a Brazilian side than a European one in the way that they move. The most important thing of all is to remain solid in the two phases, attacking and defending.

“The aim is to bring home a positive result, with a goal, in the first leg.”

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Monchi: ‘Important night for Roma’

Roma director Monchi knows facing Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League is “an important night” and thinks Cengiz Under is ready.

The first leg of the Round of 16 kicks off in Kharkiv at 19.45 GMT.

Follow the build-up and action as it happens on the LIVEBLOG.

“I’ve never reached a Champions League quarter-final. I think for the growth of the club and confidence in everything we’re doing, this is an important night,” the director of sport told Mediaset Premium.

“We expect to be as strong as possible, to go forward and we know it’ll be difficult, as Shakhtar Donetsk play very good football. The lads are aware we have an important opportunity for our history.”

Monchi was asked if progress in Europe would also affect their contract talks with various players.

“It’s true that economically it’s important to go forward, but contracts and transfers are a different matter. We need to concentrate on the present. Alisson is a great goalkeeper and we are fortunate to have him with us.

“I haven’t seen many differences between Italian and Spanish football. In my view, Italian football is more tactically intelligent, there is a lot more work on those areas, whereas in Spain there is more freedom and less training on tactics.

“There are many similarities, though.”

Cengiz Under is in the starting XI after four goals in three games, but it is also his Champions League debut tonight.

“This work has been done over a long period of time. Even before I arrived, the Roma scouting system was working well and Istanbul Basaksehir did very well in Turkey last season. We saw a player who was in the senior international squad at the age of 19 and decided to go for him.

“We invested in Cengiz Under, knowing full well we’d have to wait for the right time and Coach Eusebio Di Francesco did a great job in that development.”

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