Europa Conference League Recap: Reynolds and Roma suffer arctic disaster

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Bryan Reynolds was in Roma’s starting lineup as they were eviscerated on their trip above the Arctic Circle, while Josh Cohen and Haifa kept their hopes for a knockout spot alive with an important win against Prague.

FK Bodø/Glimt 6 – 1 AS Roma

Bryan Reynolds and Roma had a night to forget, as the team collapsed to allow their Norwegian hosts Bodö/Glimt six goals in an embarrassing loss.

Reynolds played the full 90 minutes as an advanced, right-sided wingback, and to his credit was minimally involved in all but one of their opponents’ goals.

The Norwegian champions wasted no time in shocking their southern visitors, already jumping to the lead after only eight minutes, with Sondre Brunstad Fet feeding Erik Botheim a short cross from the left side for a low, toe-tip strike to the right side of goal.

Much to the shock of their visitors, Patrick Berg doubled the lead in the 20th minute, with a wonder-strike from just outside the box, leaving Roma keeper Rui Patricio no chance to make a save.

Roma fought back and looked well on their way to right the ship as Carles Pérez made it 2-1 in the 28th minute, pulling down a long forward pass over the defense, and showing his skill to settle the ball and put his shot away past Nikita Hakin.

While the score held through the halftime whistle, Roma head coach Jose Mourinho opted for a triple substitution at the half, bringing in first-teamers Bryan Cristante and Henrikh Mkhitaryan alongside Eldor Shomurodov in a triple-change.

However, that only confused matters on the field for the visitors, as they capitulated a remarkable four goals in a disastrous 28-minute space of time.

Botheim made it three for the hosts with a low, six-yare strike in the 52nd minute, then Ola Solbakken officially opened the floodgates 19 minutes later, bringing the score to 4-1 after beating helpless Roma defender Marash Kumbulla on the charge and placing the ball past Patricio.

Amahl Pellegrino added insult to injury with 12 minutes left, taking advantage of a sleeping defense looking for a foul call that never came to charge forward and beat Patricio for 5-1, then Solbakken closed out the scoring two minutes later with a perfectly angled shot from the left of goal for the final 6-1 margin.

The disastrous result drops Roma into second place in Group C, one point behind the Norwegians, who they will face again in the Stadio Olimpico in two weeks. Beforehand, they must regain momentum in their Serie A campaign, beginning with a tough visit from Napoli on Sunday.

Maccabi Haifa 1 – 0 Slavia Prague

Josh Cohen managed his first shut-out in a European group-stage game on Thursday evening, holding off visiting Slavia Prague to help Maccabi Haifa to claim all three points.

Prague was more in control of the run of play throughout the 90 minutes and kept pressure on the Haifa defense, forcing Cohen to make a total of five saves, however were fully thwarted by an impressive performance from the hosts.

The game was won on the lone goal of the game in the 24th minute, after Ali Mohamed picked out former Manchester City youth player Godsway Donyoh in the area for a powerful strike to give Haifa the 1-0 lead.

Prague came close to pulling even on several occasions, with Nicolae Stanciu coming close with a free kick just before the half, and 17 year-old Daniel Samek forcing Cohen into a difficult save in the 57th minute.

The hosts managed to hold on despite the pressure, securing the crucial three points.

The victory raises the team up to second place in Group E, locked in a battle with Prague and Union Berlin for second place and a spot in the knockout round. They will travel to Prague for the return leg in two weeks hoping to solidify their position.

FC Basel 3 – 1 Omonoia Nikosia

Mikkel Diskerud was in Omonoia’s starting lineup for their visit to Basel, however was pulled at the half with the team already 2-1 down, as they remained winless in Group H.

Diskerud lined up on the left side of a three-man midfield, however only saw a half of action, as head coach Henning Berg opted to make a quadruple-switch at halftime after seeing his team prove large ineffective against their Swiss hosts.

Canadian striker Liam Millar opened the scoring for the hosts in the 19th minute with an opportunistic strike from the left side of the six-yard box, however the Cypriots stayed within reach, pulling even from the spot thanks to Jordi Gomez, after Marko Scepovic was carelessly knocked over at the edge of the area

Basel restored the lead four minutes before the half from the spot, with Arthur Cabral doing the damage from the spot after Gomez was found to have handled a shot in the area.

While the visitors kept it tight after the break, the Swiss side eventually added an insurance goal in the 88th minute, Edon Zhegrova slotting away from near the spot to finish a late counter that caught the Omonoia defense off-guard.

The result leaves the Cypriot side in last place in the group on one point, with a mountain to climb if they have any hopes of making the knockout round.


David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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