EL: Roma break Braga

Roma made short work of Sporting Braga, sweeping through to the Europa League Round of 16 with a 5-1 aggregate victory, even after missing a penalty.

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The Giallorossi were in a comfortable position after winning the first leg 2-0 in Portugal, but missed Chris Smalling, Roger Ibanez and Davide Santon, so moved to four at the back, but Stephan El Shaarawy got his first start since returning to the club. Braga had Ricardo Esgaio suspended after his red card, with Andre Castro, Rui Fonte, Francisco Moura, David Carmo and Iuri Medeiros injured.

Roma opened the scoring with a huge contribution by El Shaarawy, as he ran onto the Bryan Cristante through ball, his curler from outside the box was fingertipped onto the inside of the far post and Edin Dzeko tapped in the rebound.

Lucas Piazon blasted not far over the bar, then Pau Lopez had to make the save on Andraz Sporar after El Shaarawy gave it away cheaply.

Pedro should’ve done better when blasting his finish against the crossbar on an El Shaarawy pull-back from the left.

Dzeko came close to a second goal after the break, his header over the bar from a corner, but he then pulled up with a suspected groin strain and had to be substituted.

Novais brought down Carles Perez, who had pounced on a poor back-pass, and substitute Lorenzo Pellegrini stepped up for the penalty, but drilled it wide of the target.

Moments later, Pellegrini made up for it, floating a wonderful ball over the top for Perez to volley in at the far post with the inside of the boot.

Braga forced a save from Pau Lopez with Andre Horta, then scored a bizarre goal when the ball was rolled across from the right and in his attempt to intercept, Bryan Cristante prodded into his own goal.

Nonetheless, Borja Mayoral had the last laugh, completing a well-worked team move with Perez threading through for Leonardo Spinazzola to roll across.

Roma 3-1 Braga (5-1 agg)

Dzeko 24 (R), Carles Perez 75 (R), Cristante og 88 (B), Mayoral 91 (R)

Roma: Pau Lopez; Karsdorp, Mancini, Cristante, Bruno Peres; Diawara, Villar (Pellegrini 46), Veretout (Spinazzola 59); El Shaarawy (Perez 59), Pedro (Mkhitaryan 77); Dzeko (Mayoral 67)

Braga: Tiago Sa; Ze Carlos, Vitor Tormena, Rolando, Nuno Sequeira (Cristian Borja 70); Piazon (Fransergio 60), Novais, Gaitain; Galeno (Infande 77), Sporar (Abel Ruiz 60), Andre Horta

Ref: Ekberg (SWE)

Missed penalty: Pellegrini 72 (R)

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