Fred free-kick turns second-half around for Shakhtar

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.

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.

Facts:

  • 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.