Shakhtar Donetsk have once again made it to the Last 16 stage and we wouldn’t bet against them causing problems to star-studded AS Roma side.
The Giallorossi did well to top a very strong UCL group, but they need to continue the rich vein of form if they want to make it to the next phase.
The combination of top Ukrainian footballers and brightest talent from Brazil and occasionally Argentina has been working like a charm for Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Ukrainian giants have been turning nice profit from the sales of players like Willian, Alex Teixeira, Fernandinho and Douglas Costa, to name just a few, yet they remain competitive in both Ukraine and Europe.
This time Shakhtar impressed to pip Serie A leaders Napoli to a place in the Champions League knockout stages and they were probably happy to be pitted against AS Roma.
After recording a 5-0 triumph in the first competitive fixture of the year, the Pitmen can be backed at 3.05 (31/20) to win the first leg on Wednesday.
The hosts will be without captain Darijo Srna, who is banned after failing a drug test, but Bernard should be fit to play after recovering from a shoulder problem.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Pyatov – Dodo, Kryvtsov, Rakitiskiy, Ismaily – Fred, Stepanenko – Marlos, Taison, Bernard – Ferreyra.
AS Roma last made it to the Champions League quarter-finals back in 2008, so no doubts they’ve got an extra motivation to eliminate Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Giallorossi had enjoyed an excellent start to the season, but they went on to experience all sorts of problems at the turn of the year.
The good news is that AS Roma have since returned to the right track, climbing back to third in the Serie A standings.
Eusebio Di Francesco’s side head into the Shakhtar clash in high spirits having won last three league matches, defeating Hellas Verona, Benevento and Udinese, although they clearly face a more difficult task this time out.
Maxime Gonalons has failed to recover from injury, while Rick Karsdorp and Luca Pellegrini are also unavailable for selection.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Alisson – Florenzi, Fazio, Manolas, Kolarov – De Rossi, Strootman – Under, Nainggolan, Perotti – Dzeko.