Roma vs Qarabag – Tuesday, December 5, 19:45GMT/20:45CET – Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
Qarabag’s first ever Champions League campaign will end on Tuesday night in Italy. But overall the team from Azerbaijan will look back to some decent performances and two fantastic draws achieved against Atlético Madrid.
The results against Atlético, in particular, meant that Qarabag were the difference maker in this group of death that alongside Atlético Madrid and Roma also includes London-based Chelsea FC. Chelsea did their homework against Qarabag winning both their game at home and away in Baku. Be a winning sports bettor and do not under underestimate Qarabag, who have after all taken two points from Atlético. Roma in the meantime got the job done in Baku, but need to beat Qarabag at home to ensure a spot in the round of 16—the Italian side will advance no matter what should Atlético fail to beat Chelsea.
In a group in which everyone expected that Qarabag would be everyone’s whipping boys, the Azeri side were surprisingly competitive. Playing an attractive fast-paced style with a solid defence they only lost control once when they were utterly beaten by Chelsea on matchday 1. A narrow defeat and the two draws against Atlético attest that football in Azerbaijan is growing.
Qarabag will, therefore, take plenty of positives from their first ever Champions League campaign. Furthermore, the Azeri side will also attempt to bow out of the competition with the best possible performance, and Roma will, therefore, need to be at their best to be sure to qualify for the next round of the competition.
Qarabag vs Chelsea – Player to look out for:
Edin Dzeko #9 – Roma
Edin Dzeko has been on fire for Roma this year. The Bosnian national team striker scored 29 goals in the Serie A last season is on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or. The winner will be announced on 7 December. Just two days before the award ceremony Dzeko will be asked to get the job done for Roma in the Champions League. The 31-year-old striker, who despite his height often reminds observers of Marco van Basten, is once again in good form having scored 11 goals in 19 games already this season.
Dino Ndlovu #9 – Qarabag
South African forward Dino Ndlovu is one of Qarabag’s biggest stars. Still, without a goal in the group stage of the competition, Ndlovu scored four goals in six Champions League qualification games to guide his side to a historic first Champions League group stage participation. Qarabag will now look at their South African star to provide the goals on Wednesday as Qarabag host another big name in European football.
Roma vs Qarabag – Match Stats
- This is Roma’s first home game against a team from Azerbaijan.
- Roma won the away match in Baku 2-1.
- AS Roma are a victory away from reaching the UEFA Champions League round of 16 while Qarabağ FK will want to conclude their group stage debut on a positive note in what is their last European fixture of the season.
- This is Qarabağ’s third visit to Italy, and they lost on both previous trips, both in the UEFA Europa League group stage: 2-0 at Inter Milan in 2014-15 and 5-1 at ACF Fiorentina last season.
- Overall Qarabağ’s record against Italian clubs is W0 D1 L4.
Prediction: Roma vs Qarabag 4-1
Roma vs Qarabag – Possible Lineups
Alisson – Kolarov, Juan Jesus, Manolas, Florenzi – Pellegrini, Gonalons, Strootman – El Shaarawy, Dzeko, Ünder
Coach: Eusebio Di Francesco
Kanibolotsky – Agolli, Yunuszade, Rzezniczak, Medvedev – Garayev, Michel, Richard – Madatov, Ndlovu, Quintana
Coach: Gurban Gurbanov
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.