Roma beats Shakhtar 1-0 to reach CL quar­ter­fi­nals

Imperial Valley Press - - SPORTS -

ROME (AP) — Roma over­came a poor firsthalf per­for­mance to beat Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 on Tues­day and reach the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Cham­pi­ons League on the away goals rule af­ter a 2-2 ag­gre­gate score.

Edin Dzeko scored the only goal of the match early in the sec­ond half as Roma be­came the sec­ond Ital­ian side to progress to the fi­nal eight af­ter Ju­ven­tus beat Tot­ten­ham last week.

Shakhtar led 2-1 from the first leg and would have ad­vanced with a draw, but its hopes of an equal­izer di­min­ished 11 min­utes from time when de­fendaer Ivan Ordets was sent off for haul­ing down Dzeko.

It is the first time in 11 years that two Ital­ian teams are in the quar­ter­fi­nals, with the draw tak­ing place Fri­day.

“Go­ing through and be­ing among the strong­est teams has to be a source of great pride,” Dzeko said. “I don’t have a pre­ferred op­po­nent: they are all strong teams, but we will play to win against any­one. We are among the eight strong­est teams in Europe, it means we are strong too.”

In the night’s other match, Sevilla knocked out Manch­ester United with a 2-1 win at Old Traf­ford to go through with the same score on ag­gre­gate. Sub­sti­tute Wis­sam Ben Yedder scored twice af­ter com­ing on in the sec­ond half, with Romelu Lukaku pulling a goal back for United.

Roma hadn’t con­ceded in its three Cham­pi­ons League matches at the Sta­dio Olimpico this sea­son but nearly net­ted an own goal when Alessandro Florenzi tried to head clear a free kick but sent the ball flash­ing across the face of goal.

Shakhtar dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion early and Tai­son al­most scored but his ef­fort flew nar­rowly over the cross­bar.

But Roma broke the dead­lock seven min­utes af­ter the break as Dzeko latched on to Kevin St­root­man’s ball over the top and slot­ted it into the bot­tom right cor­ner.

That gave Roma con­fi­dence and it al­most dou­bled its lead 10 min­utes later but Dzeko fired nar­rowly wide.

“What I liked best is that we played like men and that’s the most im­por­tant thing if we want to aspire to cer­tain goals and dreams,” said Roma coach Euse­bio Di Francesco, in his first ever Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign.

“I want to con­tinue to dream with this team ... the only ad­ver­sary I want to avoid is fear. We should never have that, we should be con­si­cious of our means. The team is grow­ing a lot.”

A small scuf­fle be­tween play­ers broke out 10 min­utes be­fore full time af­ter Fa­cundo Fer­reyra pushed a ball­boy over the ad­ver­tis­ing boards when try­ing to re­trieve the ball from him. Fer­reyra was shown a yel­low card.

Dzeko was given a stand­ing ova­tion when he was sub­sti­tuted in the fi­nal minute.

“The stand­ing ova­tion has to be for the whole team, not just for me. Every­one gave their all and we are de­servedly in the quar­ter­fi­nals,” Dzeko said. “I didn’t want to leave (in Jan­uary) pre­cisely be­cause of matches like these, you play all sea­son for matches like these.”


Roma’s Edin Dzeko tries to drib­ble past Shakhtar goal­keeper An­driy Py­a­tov dur­ing a Cham­pi­ons League round of 16 sec­ond-leg soc­cer match be­tween Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk, at the Rome Olympic sta­dium on Tues­day.

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