Edin Dzeko strikes to send Roma through
Champions League, last-16 second leg, Stadio Olimpico – AS Roma 1 (Dzeko, 52) Shakhtar Donetsk 0; (2-2 on aggregate) Roma go through on away goals.
Edin Dzeko struck early in the second half to seal Roma’s progression to the quarter-final stage of the Champions League.
Roma started on the front foot and created an viable in the opening seconds. Radja Nainggolan—playing in an advanced role—cut the ball back to Dzeko on the edge of the area, whose shot was not powerful enough to test Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.
From there, Shakhtar enjoyed long spells of comfortable possession, with the intent of coaxing the home side out of shape. Roma appeared content to wait and hit the visitors on the break.
The Ukrainians came close to breaking the deadlock when Bernard’s free kick was headed narrowly wide by Alessandro Florenzi. Facundo Ferrerya then dispossessed his countryman Federico Fazio to create a one-on-one situation, but squandered his shot into the side netting.
Shakhtar’s disciplined backline was finally breached when Kevin Strootman’s through-ball was pounced upon by an advancing Dzeko. The Bosnia-Herzegovina striker beat the offside trap and slotted under Pyatov with his first touch of the second half.
The goal invigorated the home side, who came close to doubling their advantage through a pair of Dzeko chances.
Shakhtar were ultimately unable to find a way through and saw their night end in disappointing fashion when Ivan Ordets was dismissed for dragging down Dzeko as he advanced towards goal.
Roma have now qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 10 years.
Roma's Kevin Strootman celebrates with Diego Perotti after the matchReuters
TALKING POINT: Can Roma make an impact in the quarter-finals?
The Giallorossi are likely to be the biggest underdogs in the Champions League quarter-finals, a stage of the competition they haven’t reached in a decade.
It’s possible that they could get a result against Sevilla or a familiar Juventus side, but whomever gets Roma in the draw will probably count themselves lucky.
Roma's Edin Dzeko scores their first goalReuters
MAN OF THE MATCH: Edin Dzeko
While Nainggolan was excellent in his advanced role, the gong must go to Dzeko, who was a constant threat to Shakhtar’s well-organised defence.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov 6, Butko 6, Ordets 6, Rakitsky 6, Ismaily 7, Fred 7, Stepanenko 6, Marlos 5, Taison 6, Bernard 6, Ferreyra 6. Subs: Dentinho 6, Patrick 6.
33' - CHANCE! Ferrerya steals the ball from his countryman Fazio and has a clean run at goal on the right... but he fluffs his shot into the side netting.
52' - GOAL! Dzeko gets the goal the Giallorossi need! He beats the offside trap and slots the ball under Pyatov with his first touch of the second half!
63' - CHANCE! Dzeko gains possession on the right side of the box and tries to curl one in at the left post, but it flies just wide!
79 - RED CARD! Ordets pulls Dzeko down as he advances towards goal. He's the last man so the ref has little choice.
Edin Dzeko Roma Shakhtar Donetsk 2018Getty Images
- Edin Dzeko has been directly involved in seven Champions League goals in eight games this season. (Four goals, three assists)
- Shakhtar have lost eight of their last 11 visits to Italy.
- Roma have only won two of their six meetings with Shakhtar, and lost the other four.