Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk
Competition: UEFA Champions League
Date: 13 March 2017
Kick-off: 20:45 CET
“Both teams to score” (1.80) and “over 2.5 combined goals” (2.05) were my two tips before the first leg between Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk, and both came good, as Shakhtar won 2-1. Things looked very different at halftime, with the Italian side 1-0 up, thanks to Cengiz Ünder’s goal in the 41st minute. Given that they took the lead and were up at halftime, Roma could and should have done better than lose 2-1, but even so, that goal they scored in Kharkiv (that’s where Shakhtar have been playing as hosts for over a year now), may prove huge. Four days after their defeat in Ukraine, Roma lost again, at home, 2-0 to Milan. They took “bouncing back” to a whole different level though, beating Napoli 4-2 right after that, away from home. As for their game against Torino last Friday, their 3-0 win, it was played under… sentimentally charged conditions, as Davide Astori’s funeral had taken place a day earlier. Daniele De Rossi and the late Fiorentina captain were very close friends, but De Rossi made himself available for the game, and scored Roma’s second goal. Greek defender Stelios Manolas had opened the scoring, followed by a gesture that dedicated his goal to Astori, a former opponent. Roma are third in the Serie A, and should finish the season in the top 4, so as to play Champions League football next year as well.
Shakhtar Donetsk find themselves at the best possible moment, having five wins in five official matches in 2018, including that 2-1 at home (if you can call Kharkiv their “home”) over Roma. They have been a super attacking team for years now, since Mircea Lucescu’s time, but the fact that they have conceded just one game in 2018, in those five games, is… really something. You could say that their opponents in Ukraine are not that strong, but even so, not conceding in several games in a row is… weird, by Shakhtar’s “attack, attack, attack!” standards. The “championship round” in Ukraine has already started, Shakhtar won again, and they have built such a big gap between them and second-placed Dynamo Kyiv that it looks highly unlikely they lose the championship title.
Previous five matches:
Roma vs Torino 3-0
Napoli vs Roma 2-4
Roma vs Milan 0-2
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma 2-1
Udinese vs Roma 0-2
Vorskla vs Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3
Karpaty vs Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Zirka 5-0
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma 2-1
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Chornomorets 5-0
Roma’s next game is at Crotone, on Sunday (Italy Serie A). Same day, Shakhtar will be hosting Mariupol’ (Ukraine Premier League).
Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk: Head to head Stats
Roma have hosted Shakhtar twice before. They beat them 4-0 in 2006 (UEFA CL group stage), and lost 3-2 in 2011 (Champions League round of 16).
Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk: Prediction
Roma are considered huge favourites to win the game, but personally I’m leaving their 1.62 aside, I prefer focusing on goals, considering Shakhtar capable of… shocking the Italian side.
Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk: Betting Tips
“Both teams to score” pays just 1.60, way less than in the first leg. Even “over 2.5 goals” pays little (actually less than 1.60). I’m taking the extra risk to suggest “over 3.5 goals”, seeing the game end even… 2-2.
More UEFA Champions League betting tips and match previews: