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Shakhtar Donetsk. They're Ukrainian.

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Roma 2 - Shakhtar 3

Well, quite thankful this is a two-legged tie. If the match plays out anything like this one and, most importantly, without a repeat of those two incidents of extraordinary misfortune, they should win hands down. The problem is overcoming those three away goals.

Game

Corner Roma. One last chance.

Well, a horrible Burdisso longball.

Two minutes in with little to show.

Four minutes added, one minute in.

Borriello heads a lovely cross just wide. Pyatov with another chance to get sent off.

Burdisso decides a left-footed long ball is the best avenue to a desperation goal. It's not.

Pyatov should be sent off for timewasting. He's been incredible. This is the third clear yellow-card incident.

Roma free kick. Quickly taken...Daniele's shot well off.

87' Times of desperation.

Corner. Not well taken by the result.

Rakitskiy yellow for a foul on Yeremy, and yet another Brazilian enters the pitch. Teixeira. Maybe Simplicio could make it a party.

84' Srna run, heartburn creeping...but foiled.

Wind update: Shaktar appears to have more....oh, Totti. In the box, short space to shoot, but right at Pyatov.

82' Shakhtar's timewasting has been rather exceptional.

Castellini so nearly. Of all the people...gorgeous service from Francesco. Another corner amounts to nothing.

79' Two nicely swung in balls, but both cleared.

Roma corner two.

Shakhtar's throw has taken several minutes, which I suspect is the problem. Roma corner.

Taddei with a high elbow, Totti upset at...something. And now Perrotta gets yellow for...something.

76' Has Borriello had a touch?

75' Conti smoking an extra long cigarette - you and everone else.

Menez yellow. Suspended for the return leg. Sweet. Completely unnecessary kick, so I guess 'stupid shit' isn't exclusive to Roman defenders.

Taddei wins a corner with some patented Rodrigo ugly football....and another after Daniele nearly crashed it in, but took out Pyatov.

Shakhtar nearly score. Shot goes just wide, and my heart rate escalated by a factor of 10. That looked in.

71' How's Shakhtar's fitness? I just saw one - Adriano, maybe - looking to be sucking some wind.

Can't imagine they'll be getting better in the final twenty without much real match fitness.

69' Doni saves the day on a 1v1, and he's hurt. Awesome. Looked to have his ankle stomped in the scramble for the ball.

Not stomped, but rather full-on kicked.

68' One more sub in the bag, and it's likely to be Simplicio or Greco for Taddei.

Another chance scuppered.

Mirko off.

Borriello coming on. Will Claudio go all out or take off Mirko?

65' Disaster in the Roman box averted twice....second time with Perrotta, who's been a fucking savior today.

Cassetti yellow, suspended. Not the worst news, but I suspect Rosi will find a way to remove himself from CL eligibility by the second leg.

Totti's playing like a madman and it seems to be spurring on the crowd and the team.

Someone got a yellow in the aftermath of the goal. Luiz Adriano, DDR or Perrotta. Stream says the first one.

61' Fuck you, hope.

Play tremendously slowed. Build up, at least. Totti running like Borriello. FENOMENEZ!!!!!!

That was all Il Capitano's running until the wondergoal to match Willian.

59' Totti with yet another backheel to Menez, who had a difficult volley and put it high. Very, very tough shot.

And Totti is still the best player on the pitch. Even if they lose, this might be the best sign of the year. (Little late, mind you.)

56' Mexes' inner Roman - the one that forces DDR into trying to hard when the chips are down - is foraying into Shakhtars deep midfield. Recipe for bad news.

Totti goes for the baby killing shot, cleared into an eventual U6 scrum.

54' Think I fell asleep. Slowed play, and Ranieri has to be thinking about a substitute of some sort.

Menez with his first real burst of the game and wins a free kick. Hey, thanks for showing up.

51' Cassetti just absolutely skinned...again...and lucky that Willian is no Vucinic.

49' Roma free kick from 25 or so, dead on. Cheeky fake, but the Totti dribble-and-shoot is eventually blocked.

48' I know that this is their game, largely, but for the last few weeks, even during the good run, I was getting dangerously close to bestowing the Mancini 'Give-A-Shit-Factor' upon Mirko & Menez.

Getting closer.

46' Cassetti with a bonehead pass to Doni, but we forget he's probably the best Brazilian ballhandler in the stadium.

Think he could play treq?

Second Half

Borriello and Simplicio cleating up in anticipation as well.

Castellini on. I thought Riise might've hurt himself on that slip for goal three, and it appears he may have.

Booed off the pitch, obviously, which is a reflection of the scoreline. Before goal two, anyway - after that I gather they were simply stunned. The first was lucky, the second extraordinary and the third...no idea. Should be 1-1 at most. They were hardly playing poorly or the inferior team - dominant, even.

Simply need to get this to 3-3. They can win in Ukraine. The problem now, of course, is their mentality. Need Bayern 2.0.

Half

1' added.

The problem here is there is little to fix. These are exceptionally unlikely incidents, but I suppose there is no such thing as coincidence.

I haven't the slightest idea what just happened to Riise. He appeared to slip under little pressure, but there was no coming back from it. None.

42' Shakhtar three. John Arne Riise just fell down with the ball and gifted them a 1 v 2. That was extraordinary. Just...there are no words.

40' Mirko goes just wide in the box.A goal begging, a hair needed - although it was likely to be saved.

38' Greco and/or Simplicio seem like likely candidates at the half, as well as, of course, Borriello.

On the balance of things, Roma has been by far the superior team today. Like the Spalletti days, that doesn't always matter so much if you don't bury your chances and lock down the counter.

Shakhtar wondergoal. Douglas Costa. Why the flippin' fuck is he playing in the Ukraine again?

33' Referee just threw a dummy screen on Mirko, and Shakhtar counter.

And now Roma break, Chygrynskiy yellow for manhandling Francesco and his wardrobe.

31' And as Roma pushes back, so too does the Shakhtar Brazilian counter, as Perrotta clears it from Shakhtar goal two.

The ball was heading into the arms of an awaiting Doni, but it kicked up and over. Genuinely horrible luck.

No, own goal. Deflection from a harmless shot via Jadson. What terrible, terrible luck.

Ball sort of cleared, DDR drops it to Taddei who sends an inch-perfect cross to ....oh my word...Shkhtar get it back. Who else? Srna.

Rodrigo Taddei, mama jammers!

27' Totti tumbled, manages to still play it to Menez, out for a corner.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL. PERRRRRRRROOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTA

25' Slick 1-2's in the box....Vuci in 1v1 but for an offside, and shoots anyway.

He wasn't off. The weakest of sauces right there.

24' Totti backheels off his ass to win a throw. Dealing isn't even beginning to describe the vintage performance he's turning in.

23' Mirko goes for the audacious a la Juventus from well outside the box, just high. He might be feelin' it too.

I suppose this can only mean a Shkhtar goal against the run of play isn't far behind?

21' Burdisso just somehow missed a running header 5 yards from goal. That might qualify as a sitter miss, were it not going to be such an excellent goal.

Alright, that was a sitter miss.

20' Vuci run; skins one, then works a corner 1 v 3. Not bad.

Totti's en fuego. Cross it from the right touch to Riise on the left side of the box, just over a defender, but he can't shoot accurately.

New tactic: get it to Totti, circa every year but 2010-11.

17' Riise owns Srna. Douglas Costa eventually gets it back down the other end, steps over, shoots it into Burdisso's face. Take that every time.

16' Menez playing Cruijff's position from 1974.

Central defenders refuse to play a pass less than 25 yards, and none of them would be confused with Gerard Pique.

14' Mirko's not been brilliant and it's the Champions League. 7.5 goals.

13' Taddei's got beady eyes all over Srna. Remember Claudio's mantra of focusing only on your own team and not worrying about the opposition? Yeah.

12' Doni palms an easy catch...out for a corner. Oh dear, it has begun.

11' Willian solo run; Riise solo foul.

That boy's quite talented. No yellow because the ref was thinking the same as me: "What the fuck was John going to do?"

10' Francesco's got his groove back. He's fuckin' dealing right now.

9' Lucescu, reading this liveblog, switches play out to the Roman right and Shkhtar gets a free cross and volley in the box, blocked for a corner and eventual foul. Dyspepsia.

7' Menez gets what I count to be touch number one.

6' Play is entirely concentrated on Roma's left/Shakhtar's right. The right half of the Roman pitch isn't even being used. I wonder if this stacking is by design so as to completely close down Srna.

His name's already on overdrive, but genuinely - he's incredible. Beckham-esque right and can do other things, too. (Imagine that.)

5' Totti backheel cleared out of the box. And again. I dare say, Francesco is feelin' it.

He likes Shakhtar at the Olimpico, no?

4' Roma, working on their night moves; Totti works it out to Cassetti, who's working on his non-moves.

Taddei's on the left and we have our answer as to why he's in the game: lock down Srna.

2' Solid limp on Darijo right now. Bears watching. So too down Shakhtar's Barca-esque defending with the forwards. Like bees on Italian honey.

1' Taddei's already taken out Srna. And you wonder why he starts....

Kickoff

Shakes down, toss being taken, Shakhtar wins, bad juju.

First time in my life I'm realizing Cassetti is 187cm, same as Mexes. How did I miss this?

Teams in the tunnels, exiting to the pitch as we speak. The referee mascot looks like he's actually going to grow up to be a referee. Can we keep tabs on that?


Streams

(Channel 106491 seems solid)

Official:

Doni
Cassetti, Mexes, Burdisso, Riise
Taddei, DDR, Perrotta
Menez
Totti, Vucinic.

Bench: 1 Lonbont, 4 Juan, 3 Castellini, 33 Brighi, 23 Greco, 30 Simplicio, 22 Borriello

***

Well good evening, all four of you not watching The Great Champions League Pants Explosion of 2011.

Hell, I might too.

Let's play a few games here:

Game 1. Which Roma will show?

Game 2. Which Doni will show?

Game 3. Are the first two games intertwined?

Game 4. Which Roman defender will be suspended for a dyspepsia-inducing act of biblical idiocy? (The good money is, of course, on Burdisso; dark horse is Riise, but only unless he's concussed into his alter ego 'Steve' again.)

Game 5. Why did I have a dream that Ranieri slotted Mauro Camoranesi into right central midfield next to Daniele De Rossi? And why was I still so irate even when I'd long realized it was just a dream, just a dream?

The projected lineup does have Mexes & Burdisso together in central defense. And I'll be spending the next two-plus hours getting my affairs in order.

Things I know about Shakhtar:

I used to watch the UPL - well, mostly Dynamo - but not lately. Who has the time anymore? But I don't believe their stellar wing/fullback play to have changed, which gives me flashbacks of the Basel debacle (II). And I, of course, know all of their Brazilians, which means they're tricky, and technical, but raw, and a little more raw, and that this combined with those wingbacks means Claudio will transition from a 4-3-1-2 to a 4-3-3 tridente after the half, much like against Udinese, which will end in your standard nil-nil.

Write that down.

Bits:

i. Even though Douglas Costa is the 'name' - and Willian, to a degree - Jadson's the tremendous worry. Every time I see him play he's like a more technical Simplicio: nuisance. Things will be thrown in the general direction of something cushy.

ii. Eduardo's never really impressed me. If he impresses me, I'll be rather upset.

iii. The smart move would be to come out in a random La Liga strip so as to neutralize Chygrynskiy.

iv. I'll come up with more, but their lineup on paper reads like a video game team designed to be dominant in 2-3 years, but as of right now, flawed. And if I know the midfield at all, more of a diamond than flat 4-4-2. (Football Lineups has them running a 4-2-3-1 this season. Go with that.)

30 Pyatov; 32 Srna, 27 Chygrynskiy, 44 Rakitskiy, 26 Rat; 20 Costa, 19 Gai, 8 Jadson, 10 Willian; 11 Eduardo, 9 Adriano

Helps that Fernandinho, at one point the best prospect in world football, has his knee in traction.

v. And if you couldn't tell by their passports, Shakhtar's not playing for a nil-nil should that lineup even prove largely true.

Which is fine, because the last time they played was early December.

Roman bits:

i. Each time I watch Samp, like now, I find myself wishing this fella they call 'Guberti' was on Roma.

Maybe they should do something about that.

ii. There's a very real chance you may want to avoid looking in John Arne Riise wears short sleeves' general direction this evening. Darijo Srna is arguably the best player - yes, player - outside of continental Europe, and JARwss is still showing the bruises from ten days ago.

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

iii. The same can be said for any free kicks. Duck and cover, friends. Duck and cover.

iv. Breaking: The game may be postponed 30 mins so that Silvio Berlusconi can pork Dmitry Medvedev's 12 year old daughter.

No, but really - it might be postponed.

v. This is complete conjecture, but I think the switch - or start - with a tridente is near inevitable. I believe I read an interview with Douglas Costa recently in which he claimed to start wide then drift, like every Brazilian non-fullback in the world who starts wide. See also: Willian. With Rat and Srna's forays, tucking the pace in behind and stretching the central defense might be wise.

Almost wants me seeing a 4-2-3-1 with a rumbling Perrotta at treq....

Free Simone!

vi. Barca's projected lineup just flashed across the screen.

Uh, you may want to look elsewhere for a Roma live blog today.