Roma go into their Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk on the back of indifferent form in the domestic league, but manager Ranieri knows that a series of good results (and progress to the Champions League quarterfinals will breathe life back into a faltering campaign. Shakhtar, Champions League knockout stage newcomers, topped their group (beating Arsenal along the way) and will be aiming for a better result than the 4-0 defeat in 2006.
Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk Preview
Former Inter Milan manager Mircea Lucescu has transformed the club since taking over in 2004, leading them to a 2009 UEFA Cup win and now, for the first time in the club’s history, to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
“We wanted to get to the knockout stage for the first time and, after missing out before, we finally managed it this season – and deservedly so.
The fans (in Rome) create a certain pressure on opponents, but also on their own team.
Certainly, what we learned from that last game will help us this time. I am convinced about that.”
Also the difference in class between football in eastern and western Europe is narrowing. Many talented players have come to the east.
The UEFA Cup wins by Galatasaray, CSKA Moskva, Zenit and Shakhtar mean these countries have greater hope for Champions League success.”
Roma qualified for the knockout stages after finishing second behind Bayern Munich in Group E. Their form in the league has been indifferent, down to 8th in the Serie A with just 2 wins from their last 6 matches.
“Lucescu’s teams always play very good football. Shakhtar are a quality team and they have some very strong players. On top of that, Lucescu knows Italian football very well. This is going to be a good tie to watch.”
Roma’s respect masks the pressure the home team will be under to perform, and a win in this second round tie will go a long way towards returning a measure of self-belief into the squad.
Group Stage Summary
Match Day 1: Bayern Munich 2-0 AS Roma
Match Day 2: AS Roma 2-1 CFR Cluj
Match Day 3: AS Roma 1-3 FC Basel
Match Day 4: FC Basel 2-3 AS Roma
Match Day 5: AS Roma 3-2 Bayern Munich
Match Day 6: CFR Cluj 1-1 AS Roma
Match Day 1: Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 Partizan Belgrade
Match Day 2: Braga 0-3 Shakhtar Donetsk
Match Day 3: Arsenal 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Match Day 4: Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Arsenal
Match Day 5: Partizan Belgrade 0-3 Shakhtar Donetsk
Match Day 6: Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Braga
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