Roma v Istanbul Basaksehir preview: Dzeko looking to pick up where he left off in Europa League

Roma begin their Europa League campaign with a home match against Istanbul Basaksehir tonight, as they look to make a positive start in a tournament they have high hopes for.

Roma are considered among the early favourites for the competition, and while it is important for fans and players not to get ahead of themselves, tonight will be their first chance to test their credentials in Europe’s secondary competition.

After picking up their first win of the Serie A season on Sunday, Roma are looking to continue their unbeaten start to 2019-20, but the side standing in front of them will be no pushovers.

Istanbul Basaksehir finished second in the Turkish Super Lig last season, dropping into the Europa League after losing a Champions League qualifier against Olympiacos. With a star-studded squad featuring the likes of Robinho, Demba Ba and Martin Skrtel, they certainly have the big names to cause Roma problems, but the question will be if these ageing players still have the legs to compete.

Roma will be without Cengiz Under, who they signed from Basaksehir in 2017, due to an injury which kept him out of the weekend’s win over Sassuolo, while Chris Smalling and Davide Zappacosta also remain out. But even though the squad is a little thinner than ideal, some rotation can still be expected, with Paulo Fonseca confirming in his press conference that he would be resting some players before the trip to Bologna this Sunday.

One player who will not be rested, though, is Edin Dzeko, with Fonseca revealing that backup striker Nikola Kalinic is not yet ready to start a game. Dzeko was among the scorers against Sassuolo, and also functioned well in the build-up play, so his experience could come in handy again tonight. The last time he played in this competition, of course, he finished it as top scorer, despite Roma being knocked out in the Round of 16.

The game kicks off at 8pm UK time, and will be available to watch via BT Sport’s red button service.


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