Roma scraped a 0-0 draw with BATE Borisov, but qualified for the Champions League Last 16 thanks to Bayer Leverkusen’s stalemate with Barcelona.
The Lupi go through thanks to their superior head-to-head record with the Germans.
This was the turning point for the Giallorossi’s campaign after several dire results and the Olimpico was painfully empty. Gervinho pulled out in the warm-up to make way for Juan Manuel Iturbe, while Mohamed Salah was only fit for the bench, Francesco Totti and Vasilis Torosidis sidelined. BATE had a full squad to choose from and spent the week in Rome preparing for this match, having won 3-2 in Belarus.
Radja Nainggolan’s snapshot was straight at the goalkeeper and nobody was ready to tap in a Miralem Pjanic corner that flashed across the face of goal.
Iturbe got in the way of an Edin Dzeko strike and Daniele De Rossi hit a fresh-air volley from an excellent scoring position. Antonio Rudiger’s header from a corner almost fell to De Rossi at the back post, but Aleksandr Hleb did just enough to hoof it clear before he could tap in.
A trademark Pjanic free kick was palmed away at the near post and the Bosnian drilled wide under pressure from Hleb. Nainggolan again fired straight at Sergei Chernik, while Filip Mladenovic and Dmitri Mozolevski ballooned well over from distance.
The overall sensation from the first half was of fear, as Roma were visibly terrified of making a mistake and therefore sat back making only the safest and most predictable of passes.
Straight after the restart Dzeko was sent clear by a Pjanic through ball, but hit it meekly straight at the goalkeeper. Moments later he did well to turn between a crowd of defenders before he slipped and turned wide.
Roma suddenly seemed to realise time was ticking away and Alessandro Florenzi burst through defenders only for his angled drive to be deflected wide off the goalkeeper’s knee.
Rudiger’s free header from a Pjanic corner was over the bar, but BATE Borisov had the best chance of the game so far on 68 minutes. Mikhail Gordeichuk was denied from point-blank range at the back post by a desperate Wojciech Szczesny reaction save on the ball flashed across the six-yard box.
At the other end Chernik’s punch fell to Pjanic and his shot was cleared off the line by Nemanja Milunovic. Dzeko also stung the goalkeeper’s gloves and Florenzi blasted over, but Szczesny was again decisive by palming a Mladenovic attempt out from under the bar, while two follow-ups were charged down in a chaotic move.
Iago Falque had an attempt and Gordeichuk was inches away from tapping in a Milunovic pass across the box before Nainggolan drilled inches wide.
Roma 0-0 BATE
Roma: Szczesny; Florenzi, Rudiger, Manolas, Digne; De Rossi, Nainggolan, Pjanic; Iturbe (Salah 60), Dzeko, Falque (Ucan 83)
BATE: Chernik; Zhavnerchik, Polyakov (Dubra 56), Milunovic, Mladenovic; Nikolic (Karnitski 79), Yablonski, Hleb; Stasevich, Gordeichuk, Mozolevski (Volodko 60)
Ref: Atkinson (ENG)
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