Man Utd's dismal knockout run and Roma's Shakhtar curse

Shakhtar's Latin blend stuns Roma

War refugees Shakhtar Donetsk head into their Champions League clash with Italian side AS Roma tomorrow morning (Singapore time) in high spirits despite a lack of signings and sparse match practice.

Roma take on Shakhtar Donetsk at the OSK Metalist Stadion on Tuesday night for the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie.

Cengiz Under continued his fine run of form by giving Roma the lead shortly before halftime but Facundo Ferreyra leveled for Shakhtar shortly after the break and Fred showed why some of Europe's top clubs are reportedly after him with a flawless free kick in the 71st minute.

Yet as the temperature dipped towards minus-nine Celsius, Argentine striker Ferreyra took advantage of poor Roma defending to score with an expertly-taken goal in the 52nd minute. The Pitmen good warmed up in the first official match of the new part of the season, breaking the "Chernomorets" with the account 5:0.

The second leg of the Roma-Shakhtar tie will be played at Stadio Olimpico in Rome on March 13.

"I am happy that we've got back into the season so well. My focus is on Shakhtar, with whom I have a contract".

"I seem to have seen two different Roma teams today on the pitch".

Shakhtar's star centre back Yaroslav Rakitsky will return to the first team despite missing their recent league win through a domestic suspension.

Dzeko was not having the evening he wanted in front of goal, but he played a crucial role in Roma's opener four minutes before the break.

Fred scuffed a back-post chance for Shakhtar and Edin Dzeko saw a bundled effort saved as both teams began at breakneck tempo, though Roma soon began to exert a greater threat on the break. The 28-year-old is still an unknown quantity for most football fans, but his stunning performance against Manchester City in the group stages should give Roma cause for concern.

The hosts continued to cut apart the Roma defence, but Brazil keeper Alisson was on top form as he palmed away a shot from Marlos, before springing to his left to brilliantly claw behind Taison's long-range effort.



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