Conference League: Roma conquer Trabzonspor

Lorenzo Pellegrini and Eldor Shomurodov gave Roma the 2-1 away victory over Trabzonspor in the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League play-off, as Andreas Cornelius got a temporary equaliser.

This was the first competitive game for Jose Mourinho, whereas the Turkish hosts had already played three matches. The second leg of this play-off will be at the Stadio Olimpico next Thursday.

Bruno Peres was booked early on for hauling back Henrikh Mkhitaryan on a counter-attack sparked by Shomurodov, while Matias Vina was booked on his debut for an obvious dive.

Mkhitaryan then had a goal disallowed on 25 minutes for his earlier handball, though the technique of smashing it off the underside of the crossbar was impressive.

Former Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik stung Rui Patricio’s gloves from distance, while Rick Karsdorp thumped the side-netting from a very promising position.

The deadlock was finally broken when Mkhitaryan’s pass to the back post found Pellegrini ready for a well-taken cushioned volley off the inside of the right boot. Away goals no longer count double for UEFA competition, but it is still a precious strike and the first of Mourinho’s Roma tenure.

Gervinho’s pull-back from the by-line sparked a panic in the Roma defence, but ex-Parma striker Cornelius came off the bench and scored with his first touch, rising above Gianluca Mancini to nod in the Bruno Peres cross from the right. There were suspicions of offside on Peres, but there is no VAR in the Conference League.

The Giallorossi seemed shaken and Rui Patricio had to make two saves on Anthony Nwakaeme, but they recovered and restored their lead on a corner.

Mancini’s header bounced off the inside of the upright and Shomurodov was quickest to react on the rebound.

Trabzonspor 1-2 Roma

Pellegrini 55 (R), Cornelius 64 (T), Shomurodov 81 (R)

Trabzonspor: Ugurcan Cakir; Bruno Peres, Edgar Ie, Vitor Hugo, Koybasi (Trondsen 63); Hamsik, Ozdemir (Omur 77), Bakasetas; Gervinho (Cornelius 63), Djaniny (Koita 83), Nwakaeme

Roma: Rui Patricio; Karsdorp, Mancini, Ibanez, Vina; Cristante, Veretout (Diawara 90); Zaniolo (Reynolds 93), Pellegrini (Kumbulla 90), Mkhitaryan (Perez 82); Shomurodov (Mayoral 82)

Ref: Jug (SVN)

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