Good evening! Two sides that will be hoping to book their spot in the last 16 tonight go head to head at Stadio Olimpico in the final round of fixtures in the group stage of the Champions League
. With half an hour until kickoff, let's take a look at the teams.
ROMA STARTING XI: Szczesny, Rudiger, Digne, Manolas, Nainggolan, Falque, Pjanic, De Rossi, Florenzi, Dzeko, Gervinho
BATE BORISOV STARTING XI: Chernik, Zhavnerchik, Milunovic, Mladenovic, Polyakov, Yablonski, Nikolic, Stasevich, Hleb, Mozolevski, Gordeichuk
ROMA SUBSTITUTES: De Sanctis, Castan, Maicon, Iturbe, Keita, Vainqueur, Salah
BATE BORISOV SUBSTITUTES: Soroko, Dubra, Karnitski, Aleksievich, Olekhnovich, Volodko, Jevtic
Last time out in the Champions League, Roma
were on the receiving end of a 6-1 hammering by Barcelona at Camp Nou. Despite that scoreline, there are just two changes to the side that played the last European fixture, with Daniele de Rossi and Gervinho both returning to the starting lineup.
Meanwhile, there are two changes to the BATE side that shared a 1-1 draw with Bayer Leverkusen in their last Champions League outing, with captain Igor Stasevic returning in midfield, while Nemanja Nikolic also gets the nod, after starting on the bench last month.
Group E is the only group in action tonight where all four teams can make the last 16. In fact, Barcelona are already there, with 13 points from their five matches so far putting them eight clear at the top of the table. Roma and Bayer Leverkusen sit second and third respectively on five points, while BATE are just a point back. Roma know that victory will send them through, while a draw will be enough if Barcelona beat the German side, but victory for the Belarusian champions would give them a chance to make the knockout stage, so it's all to play for.
Roma's Champions League campaign has barely got out of first gear this season, with the Italian side picking up just one win in their five previous fixtures, beating 10-man Leverkusen last month. They'll be keen to make amends for their loss to BATE earlier in the competition though, having been stunned by the Belarus side opening up a 3-0 lead in the opening half hour, before pulling it back to 3-2 late on.
have never been passed the group stage of this competition before, but have a real chance to make it through this season. The team scored just two goals in their group stage last season, but have shown a massive improvement this year, beating Roma and holding Leverkusen to a draw, leaving them in a position where a win could be enough to send them through to the last 16.
Going into this match, Roma coach Rudi Garcia told reporters: "We have 18 players that will give everything to win, because there is no other target but winning. The team that wins will be the one that has more desire, and our desire is amazing. It is like a derby. The way we battle out on the pitch will show what we want. And we want to be in Nyon for the next draw."
Meanwhile, BATE's Aleksandr Yermakovic said at his pre-match press conference: "We have been in Rome for a week and this is not the first time we have been in this city. It was a good idea coming here in advance, so we have had the chance to prepare ourselves best possible for this match. We have seen their match against Torino and even if Roma conceded an equaliser in the last minute, they confirmed what we know about them. Roma is a strong and solid team. This is the last game of the season, but the importance of the match is such that I don't even want to hear anything about tiredness or other excuses."
As Yermakovic mentioned, BATE as well rested coming into this match. The Belarusian Premier League season finished on November 8, with BATE retaining their title. Roma went without a win in Serie A for a third straight match at the weekend, letting in an injury-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Torino.
TEAM NEWS UPDATE: Gervinho has been carrying a knee injury, and although initially declared fit enough to play, the home side have decided to pull him out, with Juan Manuel Iturbe taking his spot.
The players make their way out ready for kickoff, with the ground only around half full. Fans haven't been happy with the way the club has been run recently, as well as the on-field results, so there are only around 30,000 in the ground.
KICKOFF! Roma get the match underway.
BATE try to make an early impact, with Stasevich, who is playing through a knee injury, makes a run down the right before attempting to pick out Mozolevski with a curling ball into the box, but Roma manage to scramble it clear.
Roma try to make their way down the other end for the first time, with De Rossi playing the ball through the middle to Florenzi, who crosses in from the right with Dzeko arriving in the box, but the defender hits the ball horribly, slicing it well over the bar. He holds his hands up in apology to his teammates.
Here are the teams lining up just before kickoff. As you can see, there are plenty of empty blue seats this evening:
There's a brief concern for the visitors as Mozolevski hobbles to the sideline, but he's soon back on the pitch, bursting into the box for the visitors, but he's unable to control a through-ball from Hleb. BATE have looked reasonably comfortable and confident early on in this match though.
CHANCE! Sergey Chernik has to make a save for the first time this evening as Radja Nainggolan, who can be lethal from 25 yards out, lets from fly from range, with his low strike taking a nasty deflection on the way through, but the BATE keeper watches it well and makes the save.
Juan Manuel Iturbe, who only had a couple of minute's notice that he would be playing this evening, tries to turn inside the box, while Polyakov takes the ball away. The Roma man appeal for handball, but it hit the defender's knee first, and his hand was at his side, so there was really nothing in it. Nainggolan quickly wins it back, but this time he rifles the ball over.
CHANCE! Roma are starting to take control of the match now as the ball is flicked over Polyakov, with Dzeko making a run into the middle, but it's turned behind for a corner. Pjanic's delivery back in falls kindly for Iturbe, who gets a header away, but his finish is wide.
The home side press forward again with Nainggolan picking the ball up on the right, before hammering the ball into the box, but Pjanic has to stretch to get on the end of it, and can only turn it wide.
Roma are keeping BATE on the defensive at the moment, with Dzeko flicking the ball in for Pjanic, but the striker's delivery is overhit.
UPDATE: There's good news for both sides from the other match in Group E as Barcelona have taken a 1-0 lead over Bayer Leverkusen. Assuming the Spanish side win, the Bundesliga team can't make the knockout stage, leaving second place in the group open for one of these two sides.
Edin Dzeko charges forward again, playing to ball through for Iturbe, who has his shot turned behind for a corner. Pjanic whips it back in, but Chernik is decisive, coming off his line to punch the ball well clear of the penalty area.
BATE are left scrambling as Falque picks out De Rossi with a cross from the left, but the midfielder's heavy swing at the ball fails to test the keeper. Digne is able to get it back in for the hosts, but there's no-one there to get the shot away. Roma have easily looked the more threatening so far, but without a goal to show for their efforts, BATE could be dangerous on the counter.
CHANCE! Yablonski floors Iturbe just outside the penalty area, handing Roma a free kick in a dangerous position. Pjanic, who is something of a specialist from this sort of range, lines it up, but a diving stop from Chernik diverts the strike away from goal.
BATE make a rare push down the other end, with Stasevich and Hleb trying to find some space on the right to get a cross in, but the captain loses possession. When the two sides met in September, BATE were 3-0 up at this stage.
UPDATE: Barcelona's lead was short-lived, with Javier Hernandez leveling for Bayer Leverkusen. As things stand, Roma would be joining the Spaniards in the last 16.
Roma continue to press for the opening goal, but are struggling to find the gaps. Falque attempts to hammer the ball pas the back four from 20 yards out, but Mladenovic makes the block, before Nikolic clears it completely.
CHANCE! Roma come close again as Dzeko knocks a high ball into the box down for Pjanic, who strike it on the half-volley, but pressure from Hleb puts him off his finish, and the ball goes wide. The midfielder isn't happy with Hleb's challenge, but referee Martin Atkinson saw nothing wrong with it.
CHANCE! Chernik continues to keep his cool in the BATE goal, making another confident save to keep Roma out. This time, it's Nainggolan with the finish, attempting to hammer the ball into the opposite corner from the edge of the box, but it was a fairly comfortable stop for the BATE keeper.
BATE force their first corner of the game as Roma have just started to slow in the last couple of minutes. Stasevic whips it in, but Gordejchuk is a little early with his run into the six-yard box, allowing Falque to clear for the hosts.
Roma breath a sigh of relief as Hleb wins the ball back on the right flank and charges towards the box. He squares the ball for Gordejchuk rather than taking the shot on himself though, and the duo get their timing all wrong, allowing Rudiger to clear the threat. That's a timely reminder for Roma though. They've had the majority of the chances so far, but without a goal on the board they're still vulnerable.
Roma are just trying to keep possession as the final seconds tick down, with Rudiger passing backwards, before Manolas manages to launch it deep for Digne on the left flank, but the move comes to nothing.
HALF TIME: Roma 0-0 BATE Borisov
The Roma fans aren't happy. The sparsely-populated Stadio Olimpico erupts in a chorus of boos as the players make their way off at the interval. The Italian team have had the majority of the possession, and come close to opening the scoring a couple of times, but they've lacked the finishing touch, while looking vulnerable on the counter. With the other tie in Group E level, the home fans will want to see a goal to ease their nerves in the second half.
So, Roma had 58% of the possession in the opening 45 minutes, and created nine shots, with three on target. BATE had just the one shot, although did get a few decent crosses in as well, and are yet to test Wojciech Szczesny
, who let in six last time out in this competition.
UPDATE: There were no more goals in the opening 45 minutes in Leverkusen, so as things stand a draw would be enough for Roma to go through as the runners up in Group E.
Here's an action shot from the first half courtesy of Roma's Twitter account:
The players are starting to head back out ready for the second half in Rome.
RESTART! BATE get the action back underway.
The home side are pressing from the restart as Dzeko tries to slide the ball into the bottom corner, but hits it straight at the keeper, leaving Chernik with a simple save. That was a great opportunity for the Serie A side, but Dzeko made it easy for the keeper.
CHANCE! Dzeko is desperate to create something early in this second half, turning to take the ball away from Zhavnerchik in the BATE box before attempting to find the bottom left corner, only to put his finish wide.
CHANCE! Chernik makes a stunning effort to deny Roma the opener, as De Rossi puts the ball in for Florenzi, who only has the keeper to keep from a couple of yards out, but the stopper somehow manages to just get enough of his leg on the ball, glancing to wide for a corner.
Roma force a string of corners as they continue to ask questions of the BATE defenders, but the visitors are holding firm, eventually getting the ball back when Rudiger gets a powerful but wayward header away from the edge of the six-yard box.
SUB! BATE are forced into the first change of the night as Denis Polyakov is struggling with a knock, bringing Kaspars Dubra off the bench for the visitors.
SUB! Roma are making a change too, with Iturbe making his way off for Mohamed Salah to come on up front for the hosts.
SUB! The changes are coming thick and fast now as Maksim Volodko replaces Dmitri Mozolevski, who has only recently returned from a two-year absence with a string of injuries.
Roma are continuing to dominate possession, as they did in the first half, but it's all gone quiet in the last 10 minutes in front of goal. A long ball forward from Pjanic forces Chernik to come off his line, but the visitors quickly clear their lines.
Roma finally manage to get forward again, with Digne crossing the ball in for Dzeko, but the striker is unable to get the shot away. De Rossi and Pjanic try to offer their support, pressing forward, but it comes to nothing for the hosts.
CHANCE! Szczesny has had nothing to do all night, but he might have just denied BATE a spot in the knockout stage. The visitors suddenly break, with Gordeichuk getting on the end of a through-ball from Volodko, but a point blank save from the on loan Arsenal keeper denies the Belarusians.
OFF THE LINE! Roma try to halt any chance of BATE getting a foothold in this match, piling back down the other end, but Florenzi's finish is easily stopped by Chernik. Pjanic wins it back moments later, and his shot beats the keeper, but Mladenovic is back on the line to make the clearance.
CHANCE! Dzeko continues to make things relatively easy for Chernik, as the striker weaves his way into the box yet again, but blasts the ball straight at the BATE keeper.
CHANCE! Roma are living dangerously defensively, with Mladenovic forcing another save from Szczesny, getting up at the near post to try to head in from close range. The Polish keeper parries, leaving Stasevich to try to stab the ball in on the rebound, but the keeper is in the right place at the right time.
SUB! The visitors make their final change, and it's an attacing one, as attacking midfielder Aleksandr Karnitskiy replaces the more defensive Nemanja Nikolic. BATE have clearly decided it's time to go for it.
Roma try to exploit the space at the back as BATE switch to a more attacking formation, but Salah wastes the opportunity after Dzeko slides the ball through to him on the edge of the box, as the winger handles the ball.
SUB! Roma are making their second change, with Falque heading off early, making way for Salih Ucan.
The home side win a free kick as Yablonski trips Nainggolan, but Pjanic's delivery is smashed high over the crossbar by Manolas.
Daniele de Rossi tries to force the matter for Roma, lining up a 25-yard effort for the hosts, but Hleb gets the block in.
BATE are applying the pressure as full time approaches, with Milunovic setting up Karnitski from a free kick, but the substitute fires wide. Stasevich gets it back for the visitors and squares it for Gordejchuk, but Rudiger closes in quickly before Digne makes the clearance.
With three minutes of stoppage time to be played, and Barcelona and Leverkusen still drawing, the stalemate is still enough for Roma to progress. Florenzi takes a free kick for the Italians, with Pjanic controlling it before looking to get up Salah, but BATE get it clear.
CHANCE! Nainggolan carves out some space on the edge of the box, and lets one fly. Chernik is rooted to the spot, but the effort is just wide of the left post.
FULL TIME: Roma 0-0 BATE Borisov
Both sides had chances to win it in the second half, but the goalless draw ensures that BATE's European involvement ends at the Stadio Olimpico. Leverkusen and Barcelona have finished level too, so Roma progress as Group E runners up.
Roma and Leverkusen both finish on just six points, but the Italian side have the superior head to head record. Although BATE were the lowest seed in the group coming into this campaign, they'll be a little disappointed to be bottom, finishing just a point behind Roma.
Well, that's all from this match, but join us again tomorrow as the group stage of the Europa League comes to a conclusion, and don't forget to check in on Monday as the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League, including Roma, takes place. Until then, thanks for joining me this evening. Goodbye.