Roma 0-0 CSKA Sofia: Toothless Giallorossi

Roma failed to break down CSKA Sofia in a goalless draw at the Stadio Olimpico, and even risked losing it at times, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan hit the crossbar.

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The Giallorossi made wholesale changes for this game after winning 2-1 away to Young Boys with a late comeback. Chris Smalling got his first appearance of the season following an injury and the transfer saga with Manchester United.

It was a blistering start, as Gonzalo Villar forced a save, then Smalling had the ball in the net, but only after Henrikh Mkhitaryan had been flagged offside.

Ali Sowe and Younousse Sankhare had good opportunities, but couldn’t keep their finishes on target, while Busatto was quick off his line to anticipate Carles Perez on a Mkhitaryan through ball.

There was a huge chance for the Giallorossi on 32 minutes when Villar combined with Mkhitaryan, the Armenian’s delightful chipped volley bouncing off the top of the crossbar.

Borja Mayoral’s header was off target after the restart, but CSKA Sofia had a huge double opportunity when Pau Lopez parried the Sankhare header and Valentin Antov blasted the rebound over the bar from six yards.

Bruno Peres tested Busatto from distance, but the deadlock was no closer to getting broken, so Edin Dzeko replaced ineffective Borja Mayoral.

However, they risked going behind too, as Sowe ran on to a long ball and couldn’t beat Pau Lopez one-on-one.

Lorenzo Pellegrini also came off the bench and his strike stung the goalkeeper’s gloves, as did Dzeko from a tight angle.

Dzeko should’ve scored on 87 minutes, but was a whisker too late to tap in the Pedro assist.

Roma 0-0 CSKA Sofia

Roma: Pau Lopez; Fazio, Smalling (Juan Jesus 56), Kumbulla; Bruno Peres, Villar, Cristante, Spinazzola (Karsdorp 46); Carles Perez (Pellegrini 75), Mkhitaryan (Pedro 46); Borja Mayoral (Dzeko 70)

CSKA Sofia: Busatto; Vion (Turitsov 89), Antov, Zanev, Mazikou; Youga (Beltrame 80), Geferson (Tiago Rodrigues 81); Sankharé (Ahmedov 89); Sinclair (Henrique 64), Sowe, Yomov

Ref: Kulbakov (BLR)

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