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Dec 9, 2021 at 5.45pm UK
CSKA SofiaCSKA Sofia
Catakovic (75'), Wildschut (90+3')
Vion (45'), Geferson (71')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Abraham (15', 53'), Mayoral (34')
Bove (24'), Mancini (32'), Kumbulla (61')

Preview: CSKA Sofia vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: CSKA Sofia vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa Conference League clash between CSKA Sofia and Roma, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Roma make the trip to Bulgaria to face CSKA Sofia on Thursday evening knowing that only a win will do if they want to progress through to the Europa Conference League last 16.

While the visitors are already guaranteed a top-two spot, CSKA Sofia are playing for just pride after a winless campaign thus far.

Match preview

At a time when there have been contrasting reports regarding the future of Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese must attempt to focus his attention on matters on the pitch.

Despite winning half of his Serie A fixtures this season, there have been seven defeats in 16 outings, and Roma now sit just two points above 11th position.

With games against Atalanta BC, AC Milan and Juventus to come over the next month, Mourinho can ill-afford many more setbacks, and Thursday's meeting with CSKA Sofia represents a chance for his team to restore some confidence.

I Giallorossi have not scored for five halves of football, and victory is required on Thursday evening if they want to stand any chance of avoiding the preliminary knockout round in February.

Tammy Abraham has netted four goals in this competition, but Mourinho may take the opportunity to rest a number of his key players in Bulgaria.

CSKA Sofia netted in the first 10 minutes of the game at Stadio Olimpico on matchday one, suggesting that they could be competitive in his group.

However, that remains their only goal in five matches, and all they have to show for that period is a goalless draw with leaders Bodo/Glimt.

Stoycho Mladenov will want to end this season's European campaign on a high note, but their priority is now on trying to stay competitive in the domestic title race.

Although they have collected 10 points from their most recent five fixtures, last month's defeat to leaders Ludogorets has left them nine points off the pace.

CSKA Sofia Europa Conference League form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L

CSKA Sofia form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D

Roma Europa Conference League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Roma form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Team News

Abraham may feature in the Roma attack after the forward missed the defeat to Inter through suspension.

However, several other changes are expected with youngsters Cristian Volpato, Edoardo Bove and Bryan Reynolds all options for Mourinho.

Goalkeeper Rui Patricio may also be handed a rest, handing an opportunity to Daniel Fuzato between the sticks.

With the weekend in mind, Mladenov will surely rotate his side, bringing in the likes of Ivan Turitsov and Yanic Wildschut.

Thomas Lam and Kaloyan Krastev should also be brought into the defence and attack respectively.

CSKA Sofia possible starting lineup:
Busatto; Turitsov, Lam, Mets, Mazikou; Geferson, Muhar; Yomov, Carey, Wildschut; Krastev

Roma possible starting lineup:
Fuzato; Ibanez, Smalling, Kumbulla; Reynolds, Bove, Diawara, Vina; Volpato, Mkhitaryan; Abraham

We say: CSKA Sofia 1-3 Roma

Looking to avoid two extra games next year, Mourinho and his squad will want to put on a performance in Bulgaria. While there will inevitably be some changes, we still expect a strong performance and comfortable win for the Italian outfit.

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