Shakhtar 2-1 Roma: Fred free-kick completes second-half turnaround for hosts
By Ron Walker
Last Updated: 21/02/18 11:26pm
Fred's wonderful free-kick earned Shakhtar a 2-1 win over Roma in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
His 25-yard free-kick rocketed in off the bar to give the hosts a lead to take back to the Italian capital in three weeks' time, and gave them a fourth win from five attempts against Roma in the Champions League.
The visitors had looked the more potent before the break and led when Edin Dzeko's brilliant ball inside Ismaily played Cengiz Under through, and the 20-year-old fired in his fifth goal in four games.
Shakhtar: Pyatov (7), Butko (6), Rakitskiy (7), Krivtsov (6), Ismaily (6), Fred (7), Stepanenko (7), Marlos (8), Taison (7), Bernard (6), Ferreyra (7).
Subs: Ordets (7), Kovalenko (n/a).
Roma: Alisson (7), Florenzi (4), Fazio (6), Manolas (6), Kolarov (7), Strootman (5), De Rossi (6), Under (7), Nainggolan (5), Perrotti (7), Dzeko (6).
Subs: Peres (5), Gerson (7), Defrel (n/a).
Man of the match: Marlos.
But Shakhtar were handed a route back into the game when Alessandro Florenzi misjudged a long ball forward and Facundo Ferreyra slotted under Alisson, before Fred's brilliant winner ensured them a first-leg advantage.
Roma's awful record against Shakhtar looked like it may continue early on, as Marlos controlled the early action for the hosts.
The Italian side rode their luck in a number of early close shaves when Ismaily and Marlos flashed balls across the six-yard box, while at the other end Roma threatened but rarely delivered, only once forcing Andriy Pyatov into a routine save from a corner.
Shakhtar made two changes from a 5-0 thrashing of Chomorets, bringing in goalscorer Fred and defender Rakitskiy.
Roma left Stephan El Shaarawy in the stands, with Diego Perotti preferred to start, while Aleksandar Kolarov replaced Juan Jesus.
Diego Perotti looked their most likely outlet, though, and had a hand in the opener just before the break. He drifted inside and found Dzeko, who waited before catching Ismaily cold with an excellent ball inside the full-back which Under struck against Pyatov and into the far corner.
Shakhtar stepped up their level from the break and equalised seven minutes after half-time when the ineffective Florenzi swung and missed at Ivan Ordets' pass, and once Ferreyra turned Kostas Manolas he was left with a simple finish under Alisson.
Fred, a reported target for Manchester City in January, then turned the game on its head with a moment of brilliance when Kevin Strootman clattered into Marlos just outside the box, curling the dead ball over the wall and in off the underside of the crossbar.
Shakhtar should have made Roma's second-leg task more difficult late on, but Alisson stuck out a vital hand to scoop Ferreyra's injury-time effort over the bar.
- Roma have failed to keep a clean sheet in 25 straight away Champions League games. Only Celtic (30 games in December 2016) have ever been on a longer such run in the competition.
- All three of Shakhtar Donetsk's knockout stage wins in the Champions League have been against Roma. Indeed, three of Roma's last five defeats in the competition's Round of 16 have been against the Ukrainian side.
- Cengiz Ünder (20 years, 222 days) is Roma's second youngest Champions League goal scorer after Antonio Cassano in October 2002 against KRC Genk (20 years, 82 days). He is also the youngest ever Turkish scorer in the competition, surpassing Hakan Calhanoglu (20 years, 235 days) for Bayer Leverkusen against Benfica in October 2014.
- Fred is the 14th different Brazilian player to score for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League; only FC Porto (21) have had more scorers from Brazil in the competition's history.
Man of the match - Marlos
The Brazilian did not get on the scoresheet but he was the driving force behind Shakhtar all night, constantly looking to play balls in behind the Roma full-backs, and generally working to good effect.
He also won the free-kick which led to Shakhtar's winner when making a nuisance of himself on the edge of the area, which was the story of his evening.
Shakhtar have three weeks to sit on their one-goal advantage, but have to concentrate on staying top of the Ukrainian Premier League in the mean time and host mid-table Zirka on Sunday.
Roma's priority domestically is qualifying for next season's Champions League, and they face Milan at the Stadio Olympico on Sunday.