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HJK v Roma Live Commentary, 27/10/2022

FT
1 - 2
HJK
ROM
P. Hetemaj (54)
T. Abraham (41)
A. Hoskonen (62 og)
Bolt Arena

Commentary

That's all from Helsinki today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
It all comes down to a final-day decider for the Giallorossi, who host Ludogorets at Stadio Olimpico next week. Victory in Rome would secure second spot behind Betis, who will play out a dead rubber with eliminated HJK in seven days time.
By the skin of their teeth, Roma secure maximum points in Finland and haul themselves level with second-placed Ludogorets in Group C. It was far from easy, though, against rock-bottom HJK, who were only a harsh VAR call away from rescuing a draw. As Browne's extraordinary strike was ultimately ruled out, Abraham's first-half header and a clumsy own goal from Hoskonen proved the difference - Mourinho and co breathe a big sigh of relief!
90' + 6' FULL-TIME: HJK HELSINKI 1-2 ROMA
90' + 5' A hopeful ball punted into the box by Lingman is lofted too high, which allows Patricio to claim it comfortably and then soak up a few seconds while on the ground. Roma are within touching distance of all three points now.
L. Spinazzola
Yellow Card
Roma
90' + 4' For a blatantly obvious exhibition of time-wasting on the left touchline, substitute Spinazzola is booked.
90' + 1' In the first additional minute of five indicated for stoppages, HJK have all the ball but are going nowhere fast. Koskela is ever more animated on the touchline, gesticulating furiously to anyone who catches the eye of their manager.
L. Spinazzola
S. El Shaarawy
Roma
89' Mourinho opts for fresh legs on the left: El Shaarawy off; Spinazzola on.
88' Soiri pulls the ball back towards the centre from the right byline, but Patricio does well to gather it in low down and ease the pressure on his team.
86' The home side have not given up, even after having their second equaliser disallowed. HJK are pushing on, with Roma content to sit back and soak it up until the final whistle.
M. Kumbulla
B. Cristante
Roma
84' Roma make a conservative switch, as a midfielder, Cristante, is replaced by centre-back Kumbulla for the final few minutes.
M. Abubakari
Yellow Card
HJK
82' Abubakari also receives a yellow card, in his case for raising an arm into an opponent's face inside the box - the offence which saw Browne's 'goal' ruled out.
Rui Patrício
Yellow Card
Roma
81' Due to trying to exert pressure on the referee as he viewed the pitchside monitor, Patricio is booked.
80' NO GOAL! For a soft foul by Abubakari prior to the ball reaching Browne for his world-class wonderstrike, the 'goal' is disallowed. How harsh on HJK! Roma, meanwhile, breathe a sigh of relief - they've dodged a bullet there.
79' WHAT A STRIKE!! With the purest of hits from some 25 yards out, Browne pulls his side level again. He simply hammers the ball home off the underside of the crossbar, and sends his team-mates delirious with delight! However, the VAR intervenes, as there was apparently a foul in the build-up. What a shame it would be to see such a strike chalked off!
E. Shomurodov
L. Pellegrini
Roma
78' After an eventful shift - including an assist for the opening goal - Pellegrini makes way for Shomurodov.
E. Bove
M. Camara
Roma
78' The final change of Mourinho's triple substitution sees Bove replace Camara in midfield.
G. Faticanti
C. Volpato
Roma
77' One youngster makes way for another, as Volpato is replaced by Faticanti for the final minutes of the game.
76' SAVE! Making quite an impact from the bench, Boujellab drives inside to a shooting position on the edge of the area, then lets fly with a low shot that stings the fingertips of Patricio. The goalkeeper gathers it at the second attempt, and does so gratefully!
75' HJK are in the ascendant now, as Soiri races to the right byline before cutting back a wicked ball across the box. However, it has too much zip for Abubakari to make headed contact, and Roma escape.
73' After Zalewski swings wildly at the ball in the area and barely clears it, Boujellab picks it up 20 yards out and drives a shot over the bar.
71' Perhaps inviting danger, Roma have dropped off a yard or two again; allowing their hosts to play around them in midfield. Surely they should learn from conceding the equaliser earlier on.
N. Boujellab
P. Hetemaj
HJK
69' Having spent time receiving treatment on the pitch, Hetemaj can no longer continue due to injury. The HJK goalscorer is therefore replaced by Boujellab.
67' A touch ambitiously, Camara has a crack at goal from well outside the area, but sees his effort sail high and wide of the target.
65' Though Roma have had only 38 per cent of possession since the interval, they still look the more composed side on the ball. They've certainly created more, as they lead HJK by 14 shots to four overall.
63' Roma are warming up now, as Pellegrini sends a shot wide of the left-hand post from just outside the box. Can they kill this game off and secure three precious points?
A. Hoskonen
Own Goal
HJK
62' ROMA BACK IN FRONT! Cutting inside from the left flank, El Shaarawy whips a low ball across the six-yard box for Abraham to latch on to, but Hoskonen gets there first and can only turn it past Hazard and into the back of his own net! That's unfortunate, but Roma won't mind - they're suddenly back in the lead: 2-1!
60' Much to his frustration, Abubakari is penalised for holding Mancini's shirt in a 50-50 challenge for the ball, midway through the Roma half. The latter is lucky to get the call in his favour, particularly having been booked earlier on.
58' Roma's sixth corner of the game is once more slung under the crossbar by Pellegrini, but HJK are well prepared this time, and Halme manages to clear it away under pressure.
57' Too eager to steal the ball from Soiri deep inside HJK's half, El Shaarawy is penalised for a foul on the wing-back. The hosts soon lose the ball, though, and invite more pressure onto themselves.
56' Despite scoring only eight times in a decade-long Serie A career, Hetemaj has now netted both HJK goals in the Europa League this season.
M. Abubakari
Assist
HJK
54' As the ball is drilled across from the right, Abubakari gets a slight touch on the ball before it finds goalscorer Hetemaj in the centre.
P. Hetemaj
Goal
HJK
54' HJK PULL LEVEL! From nowhere, the home side pull an equaliser out of the bag, as Hetemaj takes an excellent first touch to steady the ball on the edge of the box and fire past Patricio, straight into the bottom corner. Substitute Abubakari was involved in the build-up with a flick on, and it's now 1-1!
51' The pace of the game has dropped again, allowing the home side to steal some much-needed territory - they were getting penned in to their defensive third.
49' JUST WIDE! Abraham picks the ball up in a little space, and curls the ball towards the top-right corner from 20 yards out. It flies wide of the target, but demonstrates the confidence he's gleaned from scoring the opening goal.
47' Hoskonen escapes, as the referee - and apparently the VAR - both miss a tug back inside the area on El Shaarawy, who goes down claiming a penalty. That could quite easily have been given.
M. Abubakari
A. Olusanya
HJK
46' The hosts have made a half-time change up front: the anonymous Olusanya makes way for Abubakari.
46' HJK kick off, and we are back under way in Helsinki!
As well as setting up Abraham's headed goal, set-pieces from the boot of Roma skipper Pellegrini have proved particularly troubling to the home side today. That's an area the visitors will surely aim to exploit further in the second half. Do HJK have a 'Plan B' they can turn to? If not, they are slumping out of Europe in 45 minutes time.
Despite a cautious start on an unfamiliar playing surface, Roma gradually grew into a game they realistically have to win, and a one-goal lead is the least the Serie A side deserve at half-time. HJK created very little and survived several close calls - including a VAR decision that ruled out Cristante's near-post header. As Ludogorets lost earlier today, if Mourinho's men hang on for three points in Finland they can start level with the Bulgarian champions in next week's decider.
45' + 1' HALF-TIME: HJK HELSINKI 0-1 ROMA
45' It's clear that Roma are the dominant side now, and they are in full command as we head toward the interval. Mourinho may even be pleased by the way they've played - patient and with discipline.
43' With his first Europa League goal of the campaign, Abraham ensures Roma have now scored in each of their last 17 games in the competition.
L. Pellegrini
Assist
Roma
41' Swinging the ball deep into the box from around 30 yards out on the right, Pellegrini picks out Abraham's run with a free-kick.
T. Abraham
Goal
Roma
41' ROMA LEAD! It was coming! The Giallorossi go in front shortly before the break, as Pellegrini's set-piece prowess pays dividends again. The Roma captain drops a lofted free-kick from the right on the head of Abraham, near the penalty spot, and the England striker guides the ball into the back of the net. Hazard had no chance!
40' Roma are closing in on an overdue opening goal, as a series of crosses zip back and forth from either side; forcing quite desperate defensive clearances.
38' Abraham takes a tumble in the HJK box, under close attention from Peltola, but not only does the referee barely raise an eyebrow, the flag then goes up for offside.
36' Another Pellegrini inswinger from a right-sided corner lacks height, and is headed away at the near post. That's been a good route for Roma to pursue so far, but on this occasion, their skipper wasted it.
A. Halme
Yellow Card
HJK
34' A crunching challenge from behind by Halme takes out Abraham near the centre-circle. That's worthy of a booking from the referee.
32' Pellegrini sends another corner from the right swinging into the six-yard box, and when it is half-cleared, the ball drops to Zalewski 25 yards out from goal. The wing-back takes a wild swipe, though, and sends it flying into the stands.
29' NO GOAL! Upon closer analysis, Volpato was in an offside position and clearly interfereing with play when Cristante scored, so the 'goal' is ruled out: it stays 0-0 in Helsinki!
28' ROMA GOAL? From an inswinging corner-kick by Pellegrini, Cristante rises highest at the near post and flicks the ball past Hazard with his head from close range. Roma celebrate, but the VAR is investigating a possible offside!
26' Cutting in from the left edge of the box, Abraham curls a low shot too close to Hazard, who makes a routine save in a central position.
26' Following a couple of close escapes for the home side, proceedings have settled back into a more sedate mood. Roma are still having more of the ball, though.
24' Browne makes a brilliant late tackle to deny Pellegrini a clear shot at goal from inside the area, and the ball ultimately bobbles through to Hazard in the HJK goal. Great defending!
G. Mancini
Yellow Card
Roma
22' For clearly pulling back Hetemaj in midfield, Mancini receives the game's first booking. He'll have to be extra careful for the next 70 minutes.
21' OFF THE POST! A frantic goalmouth scramble sees Pellegrini and Vina come close to breaking the deadlock. First, the Roma skipper has two attempts blocked on the goal line, then the latter strikes the post from the left byline. After 10 seconds of madness, HJK clear their lines!
19' Though they haven't looked like getting off the mark yet today, Roma have scored in each of their last 31 continental contests - netting 68 goals in total since failing to register against CSKA Sofia in 2020.
17' After Mancini brings down Vaananen midway through the Roma half, Hostikka floats the consequent free-kick towards the penalty spot. As ever, Smalling is well-placed to clear the danger with an authoritative header.
15' From a deep free-kick, Vina plays a long ball for Abraham to run on to, but the Roma striker can't quite make contact.
13' The game is being played at a fairly pedestrian pace to this point, and it's been a cagey start from either side. Both have got a lot to lose today - HJK could be eliminated; Roma need points to move level with Ludogorets.
11' While HJK have lost six of their seven previous meetings with Italian sides in UEFA competitions - including versus Roma last month - Jose Mourinho's men are winless in their last four European away games.
9' Soiri completely misses an attempt at a clearing header from Pellegrini's outswinging corner, but HJK escape nonetheless and scramble the ball away. Roma are starting to gain a little territory.
7' Roma have not looked comfortable in possession so far, and with their hosts being much more familiar on this artificial surface, it may take them some time to settle.
5' SAVE! After Smalling makes a last-ditch block against Browne to turn the ball behind for a corner on the right, the set-piece is delivered to the back post. From there, a header towards the bottom corner by Hoskonen is kept out by the diving Patricio. That was a sharp stop, and the hosts have started brightly here!
3' Camara dwells on the ball for too long, just outside his own area, and a fast-closing Vaananen almost steals the ball in a great position to strike. However, the Roma midfelder is fortunate and the ball trickles away to safety.
1' Roma kick off, and we are under way!
The players are out on the much-discussed plastic pitch in Helsinki, with kick-off now just moments away!
Roma's Dybala remains out of action until at least next month, while Zaniolo continues to serve a three-match European ban. Therefore, Abraham continues up front for the visitors, who offer Volpato a rare opportunity in support of the England striker. Zalewski is back in the fold following a bout of flu and plays on the right flank, in place of the injured Rick Karsdorp.
While HJK's Jukka Raitala serves a suspension for his late dismissal against Ludogorets, fellow defender Miro Tenho - sent off at Stadio Olimpico last month - misses out due to illness. In the latter's absence, Vaananen captains the home side; lining up in midfield alongside veteran Hetemaj, who scored the equaliser in their last Europa League home game and previously made 300 appearances in Serie A. Olusanya comes in up front.
SUBS: Mile Svilar, Pietro Boer, Marash Kumbulla, Edoardo Bove, Filippo Tripi, Giacomo Faticanti, Leonardo Spinazzola, Andrea Belotti, Luigi Cherubini, Rick Karsdorp, Eldor Shomurodov.
ROMA (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, Matias Vina; Nicola Zalewski, Bryan Cristante, Mady Camara, Stephan El Shaarawy; Lorenzo Pellegrini, Cristian Volpato; Tammy Abraham.
SUBS: Jakob Tannander, Casper Terho, Nassim Boujellab, Atomu Tanaka, Manuel Martic, Bojan Radulovic, Malik Abubakari, Riku Riski, Janne Saksela, Fabian Serrarens, Joona Toivio, Johannes Yli-Kokko.
HJK HELSINKI (3-4-2-1): Conor Hazard; Aapo Halme, Matti Peltola, Arttu Hoskonen; Pyry Soiri, Santeri Vaananen, Lucas Lingman, David Browne; Santeri Hostikka, Perparim Hetemaj; Anthony Olusanya.
To date, Roma have accrued just four points from as many Group C games, three of which came from September's reverse fixture at Stadio Olimpico. Following their double-header with group leaders Real Betis - in which they suffered a first home defeat in Europe for 20 matches, before drawing 1-1 in Seville - they need a win today to leapfrog Ludogorets into the top two. Defeat in Sunday's Derby del Sole against Napoli saw the Giallorossi slip seven points behind the Serie A pace-setters.
Last-placed HJK Helsinki reconvene with their counterparts from the Italian capital today, having seen captain Miro Tenho sent off in Rome last month, just 14 minutes into a 3-0 defeat. Now winless in five Europa League matches - four of which have been played this year - the Finnish champions took just one point from back-to-back meetings with Ludogorets and must win today in order to keep slim hopes of progressing alive. Toni Koskela's side recently clinched their third straight league title, and the club's 32nd overall, so should be in good spirits for their final home game of 2022.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's Europa League clash between Group C rivals HJK Helsinki and Roma!