Sheriff Tiraspol host AS Roma at the Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena on Thursday in the opening game of the Europa League Group Stage. Sheriff and Roma are joined by Slavia Praha and Servette in Group G.
Sheriff currently sit second in the Moldovan National Division after five games with four wins, a loss and 12 points. The one loss came against Milsami where Sheriff slumped to a 2 - 0 loss, however, the wins included a 1 - 0 win over Petrocub, a 2 - 0 win over Spartanii, a 5 - 0 win over Dacia-2 Buiucani and most recently a 5 - 1 win over Floresti.
The journey to the Europa League Group stage has been a long run for Sheriff. The run started in the First round of Champions League qualifying where Sheriff drew Farul. David Kiki gave Farul the 1 - 0 lead going into the second leg where Amine Talal, Jermone Mbekeli and Peter Ademo all scored in the 3 - 0 win for Sheriff, grabbing a 3 - 1 aggregate win. The Second round saw Sheriff meet Maccabi Haifa, and this time took a 1 - 0 win in the first leg, Talal with the goal. However, Maccabi Haifa took a dominant 4 - 1 win in the second leg with Luvannor Henrique de Sousa Silva and Talal being sent off for Sheriff.
This loss sent Sheriff to the Third round of qualifying for the Europa League where they drew BATE. David Akpan Ankeye and Momo Yansane both scored twice along with a goal from Cedric Badolo to grab a 5 - 1 win in the first leg. Despite the 2 - 2 draw in the second leg, both penalties from Sheriff, they progressed to the Play-off Round with a 7 - 3 aggregate win. In the first leg against Kl Mbekeli scored Sheriff’s one goal in the 1 - 1 draw. However, Silva and Armel Zohouri popped up with goals in the 2 - 1 win in the second leg to book their spot in the Group stage.
Roma currently sit 12th in the Serie A after four games. With just one win, one draw, two losses and four points, Roma are already eight points off top of the table Inter. The one win came in a 7 - 0 thrashing of Empoli, but Roma slumped to a 2 - 2 draw with Salernitana and two 2 - 1 losses to AC Milan and Verona.
Last season in the Europa League, Roma made it all the way to the Final. In the Round of 32 Roma were able to dispatch RB Salzburg 2 - 1 on aggregate after a 1 - 0 loss in the first leg. Roma beat Real Sociedad 2 - 0 in the first leg and drew 0 - 0 with ten man Sociedad to grab the 2 - 0 aggregate win and the clash against Feyenoord in the Quarter-final. After a 1 - 0 loss in the first leg, Roma turned on the style to win 4 - 1 in the second leg as Feyenoord were sent down to ten men. Against Leverkusen in the Semi-final, Roma grinded out a 1 - 0 win in the first leg and a 0 - 0 draw in the second leg to book their spot in the Final. The Final ended in a 1 - 1 draw but Roger Ibanez and Gianluca Mancini’s misses meant Roma heartbreak and gave Sevulla the 4 - 1 win on penalties.
Sheriff Tiraspol and Roma have never met professionally but both do have experience in European competition. Sheriff have competed in the Europa League seven times whereas Roma have only competed in the Europa League seven times, but have made a Final appearance.