Lorenzo Pellegrini has given Roma the half-time lead over Shakhtar Donetsk, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan went off injured.
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The Giallorossi used Henrikh Mkhitaryan as a False 9 against his former club, because Edin Dzeko was not 100 per cent fit and Borja Mayoral required rest. The Ukrainians dropped into this tournament from the Champions League, where they beat Real Madrid and finished ahead of Inter in the group.
Gonzalo Villar almost scored the opener with his hip after six minutes, his deflection on a corner squirming in at the near post until Anatolii Trubin clawed it off the line.
After several attempts, Roma finally got the timing right with Pedro’s through ball, as Lorenzo Pellegrini sprung the offside trap, took a touch and prodded it under the on-rushing goalkeeper with the outside of the right boot.
However, Shakhtar almost equalised moments later when Dodo was in acres of space to roll across and Pau Lopez rushed out to parry with his chest at the feet of Junior Moraes from six yards.
Mkhitaryan attempted a lob when Trubin slipped during a goal kick, but it sailed over the empty net. The Armenian hurt his right calf during that chance and had to make way for Borja Mayoral.
Roma came very close to a second, Bryan Cristante’s header from a corner inches wide of both the far post and Marash Kumbulla.
Roma 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (Half-Time)
Pellegrini 23 (R)
Roma: Pau Lopez; Mancini, Cristante, Kumbulla; Karsdorp, Diawara, Villar, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, Pedro; Mkhitaryan (Borja Mayoral 35)
Shakhtar Donetsk: Trubin; Dodo, Vitao, Matviyenko, Ismaily; Marlos, Maycon, Alan Patrick; Tete, Junior Moraes, Taison
Ref: Dias (POR)