Attentions have been turned from domestic football to European club competitions this midweek as European football is back with a bang. Roma will entertain CSKA Sofia in Rome for Group C matchday 1 of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Sunday night victory over Sassuolo was an emotional rollercoaster for us AS Roma fans, I bet it was wonderful to watch for the neutral. Roma defeated a very good Sassuolo side 2-1 thanks to a late goal in stoppage time from Stephan El Shaarawy which caused chaos in the celebrations. Players, staff, coaches included Jose Mourinho ran to celebrate with the players under the Curva Sud after El Shaarawy’s goal nestled in the net after kissing the upright. It could have been a different story just moments later when Sassuolo had a goal ruled out for offside confirmed by VAR.
Gianluca Scamacca struck a wonderful strike from inside the area that flew past Rui Patricio into the far corner. Scamacca introduction changed the game for Sassuolo his level of physicality helped an onslaught of attacks from the away side. On a different day under a different coach in years gone by, Roma would have lost that game. Maybe we are seeing a mentality change under Jose Mourinho, time will tell.
PREDICTED LINE-UP | ROMA (4-2-3-1)
Rui Patricio, Karsdorp, Smalling, Mancini, Calafiori, Veretout, Diawara, Perez, Pellegrini, El Shaarawy, Shomurodov.
CSKA Sofia are the visitors to Roma for the opening round of the group stage of the Europa Conference League. The Bulgarians will be looking to keep up the good form against their hosts tomorrow night. Just rewind the clock to last season where both clubs met in the Europa League Group Stage. Matchday 2 CSKA Sofia managed to hold Roma to a 0-0 draw in Rome, on matchday 6. A heavily rotated Roma travelled to Bulgaria and were humbled 3-1. CSKA Sofia managed to grab 4 points out of 6 last season.
This season CSKA Sofia managed to get through three rounds of qualifying to make it to the Europa Conference League Group Stage. Latvian side FK Liepaja were beaten on penalties after both legs finished goalless. Bulgarian advanced 3-1 on penalties. In round three, Croatian side NK Osijek were defeated 5-3 on aggregate. Finally, in the last qualifying round Czech side Viktoria Plzen were defeated 3-2 on aggregate after AET as the Bulgarians overturned a first-leg 2-0 deficit.
In the league, CSKA Sofia have only played 4 out of the 7 games this season. The three games against Arda Kardzhali, Ludogorets, and Lokomotiv Sofia were all postponed due to European commitments of CSKA Sofia. CSKA Sofia are unbeaten in the 4 league games this season picking up 10 points from 12. Wins against CSKA 1948, FC Pirin, and Cherno More. The draw was the first game back after the latest international break and was against the leaders Slavia Sofia and that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Stoycho Miladenov is the CSKA Sofia manager, the 64-year-old is now in his 5th stint as manager at CSKA Sofia. He was appointed for his 5th stint at the club on 26th July 2021, in the 8 games since Miladenov has only been beaten once. That was against Viktoria Plzen in the first leg of the third round of qualifying for the Europa Conference League. 5 wins out of 8 with 2 draws and 1 defeat in all competitions. He has switched his tactical set up from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 a 4-4-1-1 and a 4-2-3-1.
PREDICTED LINE-UP | CSKA SOFIA (4-3-3)
Busatto, Turitsov, Mattheij, Lam, Mazikou, Carey, Catakovic, Bai, Yomov, Ahmedov, Wildschut.