Our prediction for this Champions League match:
Shakhtar Donetsk will be looking to defend their slim lead in the Champions League tie against Roma when the two teams face each other at Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday evening. The Ukrainian side proved their worth in the 2-1 victory over the Giallorossi, but seeing that the Romans have turned their stadium into a real fortress, the Miners certainly face an uphill task in the return leg. Edin Dzeko, who scored a brace in a 4-2 win over Napoli in the Serie A derby, is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders, who will give 100% to keep him at bay. Shakhtar Donetsk suffered six defeats in previous seven away games in the elite competition, which is yet another reason why we predict the visitors are going to return home empty-handed. In each of their last four meetings in the Champions League Shakhtar emerged triumphant, meaning that the Italians are hungry for revenge.
Highlighted Player (Maxime Gonalons):
The 27-year-old France international defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons has been with Lyon since the tender age of 10, climbing through the club’s rank all the way to the first-team regular and club captain. Gonalons made his competitive debut for Lyon in 2009 against Anderlecht in the UEFA Champions League playoof round when he came on for Jeremy Toulalan. During the seven seasons with Lyon’s first-team, Maxime Gonalons established himself as the mainstay completing the total of 212 Ligue 1 appearances. Reliable midfielder has been a major impact in Lyon’s Champions League challenges as well, taking part in all of his club’s five appearances in Europe’s elite competition last year. Playing in the holding role at Lyon, Maxime Gonalons’ influence is pivotal as the French international adds much needed steel to the midfield allowing his more creative teammates the freedom and carelessness upfront. His locker room impact is equally crucial as the 27-year-old midfielder is an imposing figure both on and off the pitch.
Highlighted Team (Shakhtar Donetsk):
Despite the fact that they were founded back in 1936, Shakhtar Donetsk were struggling to win the Ukrainian Premier League trophy until 2002. The Miners have established themselves as the dominant force in Ukrainian football and it has to be noted that they won their ninth domestic trophy in 2014. Shakhtar Donetsk were playing at Donbass Arena in the past, but due to war in Donbass the club temporarily moved to Arena Lviv. In 2009 the Miners won the UEFA Cup trophy under Romanian boss Mircea Lucescu, beating Werder Bremen in the title game. Croatian full back Dario Srna was named the man of the match. Dynamo Kiev are considered Shakhtar Donetsk’s main rivals and there have always been fireworks in meetings between the two sides. Shakhtar have a rivalry with Metalurh Donetsk as well and the two local rivals face each other in the Donetsk Derby. Chelsea ace Willian, Manchester United star Mkhitaryan and Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho all played for Shakhtar in the past.