Roma Vs. Shakhtar Donetsk: Ukraine's Champions With A Rousing Knock-Out Phase Debut, Win 3-2 In Rome

Shakhtar Donetsk has held on for a 3-2 win at the Stadio Olimpico, putting Roma in an unenviable position going to Ukraine. Last year's Serie A runners-up have lost their home lead, given up three goals ahead of a trip to an unfamiliar ground to face what seems the better side. As great of a day it was for Shakhtar, making their knockout stage debut, it was as bad a day for Roma.

The day started great for the Giallorossi, controlling the first 28 minutes, a span that culminated with Simone Perotta banging home the match's opening goal. Unfortunately for Roma, that seemed to awake their guests, with Jadson puling Shakhtar even just over a minute later. Seven minutes after that, Douglas Costa curled a ball just inside Doni's right post, giving the visitors the lead. Six minutes after that, Luiz Adriano took advantage of a mistake by John Arne Riise, scoring an easy goal from 12 yards out after the Roma left back gave up the ball along the flank.

The second half played out as even as you would expect when one site is trying to score (with the other hoping to hold-out). Roma had all the ambition, but Shakhtar was able to maintain significant spells of possession, occasionally threatening, if for no other reason than to keep Roma honest.

Roma was able to pull back a goal near the hour mark, Jeremy Menez curling in a beautiful shot from the top of the arc, but they were unable to build any momentum after the goal. Down 3-2, Roma spent much of the last half hour chasing the ball, their effort not transferring into effectively during those points where Shakhtar was able to gain possession and move the ball. Rather than laying siege in the last 30 minutes - forcing Shakhtar to defend for their lives, as the saying goes - Roma's chances came in isolation. They never established a flow.

As a result, Roma faces a second leg in the Ukraine where they either have to win by two goals or win by one while scoring three. Given the skill Shakhtar showed today, you could see a possession conscious team force Roma to pursue the match, waiting to exploit any openings that pursuit provides. Such is the situation Claudio Ranieri finds himself in, provided he's even around to coach the second leg.

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