Three and a half months after winning the Conference League, Roma plunges back into the cup atmosphere with bitterness: Mourinho’s Giallorossi come out beaten 2-1 from the trip to the Europa League against Ludogorets, winner of the last 11 Bulgarian championships, but with no victories in Europe from 18 consecutive games (excluding preliminaries) until tonight. Mourinho, who had a record of 7 out of 7 victories against Bulgarian teams, thus fails to redeem the debacle in the league against Udinese and finds himself facing the first moment of real difficulty of the season. On the first day of group C, which also includes Betis Sevilla and Hjk Helsinki (victory of the Spaniards in Finland 2-0 tonight), Belotti fails to take advantage of the first as a starter, evidently still short of condition and understanding with his teammates.
Debut from the beginning for Belotti, Mancini’s pole
Roma shows up in Razgrad without Abraham, Karsdorp, El Shaarawy, Kumbulla, Zaniolo, Wijnaldum and Darboe. Among the Giallorossi, at the entrance to the pitch, there are Belotti in attack, Celik and Zalewski on the flanks, Matic and Cristante guardians of the midfield with Dybala acting as a finisher. The 23-year-old Serbian plays between the posts Svilar, making his official debut in Rome after being used in several summer friendlies. Normal turn-over: no rejection for Rui Patricio after the mistake against Udinese. In the Ludogorets the goalkeeper is Padt, a Dutchman of Italian origin, while in the offensive trident there is space for Despodov, a former Cagliari meteor. Rome initially is distracted on a terrain of the Huvepharma Arena on the edge of the impracticable, between holes and missing grass: at 4 ‘Despodov beats Mancini in speed, appears only in front of Svilar but, instead of shooting, tries the assist in the center for Tekpetey who just misses the winning touch. Four minutes later the Giallorossi ask for the penalty for a contact between Verdon and Pellegrini: the check of the Var does not however signal any irregularity to the English referee Pawson. At 12 ‘the Roma captain starts a strong but not angled left, which Padt controls without difficulty. Then, at 32 ‘, there is also work for Svilar coming out of his fist bravelyanticipating Thiago, on a cross from Cicinho, homonymous and compatriot of the former Brazilian of Roma, who retired in 2018. After having dozed off, Mourinho’s boys pack up a series of chances: at 35 ‘Padt deflects a close shot from Pellegrini for a corner and , on the resulting corner kick, Mancini’s header ends up on the post. A little later he also tries Dybala: Joya’s left with a sure shot, however, is providentially deviated from the face of Captain Nedyalkov, who remains stunned. We go to the break at 0-0.
Mourinho changes, but Shomurodov is not enough
Upon returning to the field Pellegrini, triggered by a kiss by Dybala, the mirror of the Bulgarian door is sensationally missing. Then it is the Argentine himself who does not frame the target, at 57 ‘, up perfect side of Belotti from the chest. A minute passes and Svilar is called to the first save of the second half, after a conclusion by Piotrowski. Roma has the initiative, but it is too cumbersome to find outlets: this is how Mourinho inserts Shomurodov and Spinazzola for Belotti, still not brilliant, and Celik. The goal, however, is found by Ludogorets in the 72nd minute: Cauly sniffs the gap in the Giallorossi defense, finds neither Smalling nor Cristante’s opposition, and stabs Svilar from a central position. Two minutes later the Brazilian midfielder touches the post with Svilar beaten. Without a worthy reaction, Mourinho changes again in the 76th minute: inside Volpato, Bove and Camara in place of Mancini, Cristante and Matic. Between 82 ‘and 83’ Pellegrini has two opportunities to catch the draw: in the second, in particular, he incredibly misses the header from a few steps from a corner action. 86 ‘ the draw really comes thanks to Shomurodov, which hits with a precise gore on the captain’s cross. It’s a flash in the pan because Ludogorets doubles in the 88th minute thanks to a surgical diagonal from the Brazilian Nonato. In the sixth minute of recovery, Dybala’s last attempt goes out on the outside of the net. Roma are beaten 2-1: the green Eagles smile, who so far had won in Europe, against Italian teams, only with Lazio in 2014. Mourinho’s Giallorossi will be on the scene again in the Europa League, next Thursday at the Olimpico, against the Finns of Hjk Helsinki. But first there is the monday night against Empoli in the league.
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Ludogorets-Roma 2-1, Mourinho beaten at the first in the Europa League
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