Shakhtar v Roma preview: Time to secure quarter-final place

Roma are looking to finish the job as they travel to Ukraine for the second leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie with Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday.

After gaining a 3-0 advantage in the first leg, Roma head to Kiev knowing the tie is in their hands. Shakhtar would need three goals to simply take the game to extra time, but if Roma get just one goal, it would increase the number their opponents need to five.

Hence, Roma seem to be in control, but they can’t afford to think they are through just yet. Roma have played Shakhtar away on three previous occasions, and have lost them all.

Even if they lose again this time, it may still be enough to see Roma through to the quarter-finals. However, that will not be on Paulo Fonseca’s mind – like any game, the target is to win.

As he prepares to return to his old stomping ground, former Shakhtar boss Fonseca gave little away about his squad selection. The current Roma coach will have 20 players to choose from in the second leg.

With Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jordan Veretout and Chris Smalling still on the sidelines, Fonseca will have to find a way to replace their qualities. All three were missed in the 2-0 loss to Parma at the weekend, and Roma will be hoping for a better response this time around.

Since there will not be much time to prepare for the weekend’s game against Napoli, though, Fonseca may choose to rotate what players he does have available. Carles Perez and Borja Mayoral will be among those eyeing up a starting berth, for example.

In midfield, Amadou Diawara would reach 50 appearances for the club if he was to play. And if Edin Dzeko features up front at any point, it would be his 50th appearance in European competitions for Roma.

Fonseca will be hoping that his men can get the job done without too much effort so he can quickly turn his attention to Sunday, but full concentration will be required to ensure safe passage to a first ever quarter-final of the Europa League era.

The game kicks off at 5:55pm UK time and will be available to watch live here.

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