Classy finish by Edin Dzeko edges Roma past Shakhtar

Florence Fletcher
March 14, 2018

Despite being a man down Shakhtar pushed forward in search of the goal that would send them into the quarterfinals of the competition but they were unable to do so, losing 1-0 on the night and exiting the Champions League on the away goals after a 2-2 aggregate scoreline.

Cengiz Under's goal and a string of Alisson saves in a 2-1 away first-leg defeat had kept Roma in the tie, and Eusebio Di Francesco's men edged to victory in the return to reach the quarter-finals despite a dismal display in which Dzeko's victor was scarcely deserved.

Diego Perotti fired straight at Pyatov as Roma chased a second and Dzeko then nearly struck again with a wonderful curling shot that just faded wide, before Shakhtar redoubled their efforts.

The decisive moment came early in the second half when Kevin Strootman's through ball caught the Shakhtar defence high up the pitch and Džeko burst through before calmly sliding his finish through the legs of Andriy Pyatov.

The former Manchester City striker, who has been linked with a move back to the Premier League, but said after the match that he did not want to leave Roma, was given a rousing send-off by the home fans when he was substituted in the dying minutes. "I don't have a preferred opponent: they are all strong teams, but we will play to win against anyone".

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Both teams are effectively playing for second, with Man City a massive 18 points head of Liverpool at the top of the league. We are under pressure whether we are ahead of United or five points behind'.

But Roma quickly started to find their rhythm and Shakhtar goalkeeper Pyatov had to react quickly to a low Aleksandar Kolorov cross, palming the ball away from the path of the incoming Dzeko.

But Roma came back from the break with renewed intensity and Dzeko scored in the 51st minute to bring the sides level at 2-2. Then, Shakhtar's Ordets fouled on Džeko and was sent off.

Despite being a man down, Shakhtar launched a late onslaught and had several unsafe raids down the left but the home team's defence held on until the final whistle.

'We've won five of our last six in the league and we're into the last eight in Europe, so I am seeing growth in this team, ' the Roma coach said, as quoted on www.uefa.com.

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