Justin Kluivert cancelled out the Jonathan David opener and Roma held firm to draw 1-1 away to KAA Gent, qualifying for the Europa League last 16 with a 2-1 aggregate victory.
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The first leg of this Europa League Round of 32 tie ended 1-0 at the Olimpico thanks to a Carles Perez strike. Roma travelled to Belgium without Lorenzo Pellegrini, Javier Pastore, Amadou Diawara, Mert Cetin and Davide Zappacosta, while Diego Perotti wasn’t even on the bench due to a stomach bug. Gent missed Roman Yaremchuk, but Jonathan David scored a hat-trick at the weekend.
The Giallorossi said they weren’t coming here to defend the 1-0 lead and they meant it, as within a minute Aleksandar Kolarov’s angled drive had clipped the outside of the far post.
Roman Bezus and Jonathan David had shots charged down in a flurry of chances after a free kick, but Roma did not heed the warning.
Those two players combined for the opening goal, as Bezus whipped in a cross from the right that caught Gianluca Mancini and Leonardo Spinazzola napping, as David volleyed in low from six yards. That made it 1-1 on aggregate in the tie.
Roma had a chance to get their own goal moments later, but Justin Kluivert insisted on intercepting a Kolarov cross when Edin Dzeko was better positioned.
Kluivert did far better to get the equaliser and precious away goal, though, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s inspired slide-rule pass released the Dutchman to finish past the on-rushing goalkeeper.
David almost got his second barely a minute later, turning on a sixpence to skim the far post, while Mkhitaryan’s effort was deflected over.
Spinazzola did well to force David to narrow the angle on his shot, so Pau Lopez could smother, but the second half was all Gent pouring forward, as they needed two goals to qualify.
Vadis Odjidja went very close indeed, his volley from just inside the area swerving inches wide of the upright on a cross from the right.
Another Odjidja strike was smothered by Pau Lopez, then he fired a couple of attempts wide, as Roma held out to reach the Europa League Round of 16. Veretout will be suspended for the first leg, as he picked up a yellow card in Belgium.
Gent 1-1 Roma (1-2 agg)
David 25 (G), Kluivert 29 (R)
Gent: Kaminski; Castro-Montes, Plastun (Niangbo 80), Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Mohammadi; Kums, Owusu, Odjidja; Bezus (Chakvetadze 66); Depoitre (Kvilitaia 66), David
Roma: Pau Lopez; Spinazzola (Santon 67), Mancini, Smalling, Kolarov; Cristante, Veretout (Fazio 78); Perez (Villar 83), Mkhitaryan, Kluivert; Dzeko
Ref: Maria Sanchez (ESP)
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