Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk Betting Preview – Europa League, March 11, 2021
Roma will be hoping to build a healthy first-leg lead when Shakhtar Donetsk visits Stadio Olimpico in the Europa League Round of 16 on Thursday, March 11.
The two sides last faced each other during the 2017/18 Champions League campaign, but now they battle it out for a place in the Europa League quarter-finals.
You can find my Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk prediction and betting pick below. But first, let’s take a look at the odds.
Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk Betting Odds
It is no real surprise that all of the top online sportsbooks see Roma (1.55) as the obvious favorite to win the first leg. Having said that, Shakhtar Donetsk (5.25) certainly won’t go down without a fight.
With a second leg to play, the juicy price for the draw (4.20) looks very tempting, although it is worth noting that Roma beat Shakhtar in their previous meeting.
Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk Preview
Paulo Fonseca’s men have only lost one of their eight Europa League games this season, with a 3-1 defeat coming against CSKA Sofia on Matchday 6. But by that point, Roma had already secured a place in the knockout phase, recording four wins and one draw across their opening five matches.
The Italians then made light work of Braga in the Round 32, advancing to the last 16 with a hefty 5-1 aggregate win. After winning 2-0 in Portugal, Roma sealed a 3-1 victory on home soil.
The Giallorossi’s Serie A campaign is also progressing nicely. Fonseca’s men currently find themselves fourth in the Italian top-flight – two points shy of third-place Juventus – with 15 wins to their name this term.
With 11 goals and 11 assists under his belt, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been Roma’s standout performer this season. Given that striker Edin Dzeko is injured at the moment, Mkhitaryan’s creativity will be vital to Roma’s chances of beating Shakhtar.
But with key players like Nicolo Zaniolo, Jordan Veretout, and Roger Inbanez also currently sidelined through injury, the Italians aren’t at their strongest right now.
Shakhtar Donetsk began life in the Champions League this season, producing two shock victories over Real Madrid. But despite twice beating the record UCL winners, Luis Castro’s side failed to qualify from Group B.
The Ukrainians even managed to hold Italian giant Inter Milan to a couple of draws, yet they eventually missed out on a spot in the Champions League knockout phase on goal difference.
Ten wins and six draws mean that Shakhtar has only suffered one defeat in 17 domestic games this term. With a record like that, you would expect Castro’s men to be sitting pretty at the top of the Ukrainian Premier League. However, they currently trail Dynamo Kiev by four points.
The club’s Brazilian stars have shone brightest so far this season, with Alan Patrick (5 goals, 3 assists), Tete (4 goals, 4 assists), and Junior Moraes (4 goals, 1 assist) contributing on a regular basis at the top end of the pitch.
But if Shakhtar is to upset the odds on Thursday, 19-year-old goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin must be at his very best at the other end of the pitch.
Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk Prediction and Pick
Roma to Win1.55
The Ukrainian champions have produced a number of notable results against top teams this season but have also struggled in games that they were expected to win.
Meanwhile, Roma has continued to grow into the campaign. Fonseca’s men seem to be getting better as the season progresses, so I’m backing them to claim a first-leg victory over Shakhtar.