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The Match Pack: CSKA Sofia preview, form guide, stats and more

With Roma hosting CSKA Sofia in their Europa Conference League Group C opener on Thursday (kick-off: 21:00 CET), we have all the pre-match preamble you need as the Giallorossi look to extend their winning run under Jose Mourinho.


CSKA SOFIA

League position: 6th
Head coach: Stoycho Mladenov
Top-scorer: Jordy Caicedo (5)


RECENT FORM

Roma: W W W W W
CSKA Sofia: L W W W D

Mourinho celebrated his 1000th game in competitive club management with a dramatic 2-1 win over Sassuolo on Sunday that sent Roma top of the league.

It’s been some start from the Giallorossi under their new Portuguese boss as they have picked up five wins from five and the feel good factor at the Stadio Olimpico is well placed to continue, with no concerns over injuries or suspensions beyond the long-term absence of Leonardo Spinazzola.

Mladenov is also a summer arrival in the opposite dugout although not an unfamiliar one for Sofia fans having coached the team four times prior to his latest return and his team have won five of their eight matches so far this season (W5, D2, L1).

They will need picking up after being denied victory in the dying moments of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with capital city rivals Slavia, though, and will be without suspended top-scorer Caicedo, while Geferson is an injury doubt after picking up a knock in that match.


Possible CSKA Sofia line-up

(4-2-3-1)

Busatto; Turitsov, Mattheij, Antov, Mazikou; Geferson, Youga; Yomov, Carey, Wildschut; Catakovic

DANGER MAN
Graham Carey

Caicedo will be a real miss for the visitors, with the Colombian missing out after receiving his marching orders for picking up two yellow cards in his team’s 3-0 extra-time second-leg win over Viktoria Plzen in the previous round of qualifying.

In his place, either Ahmed Ahmedov or Hamza Catakovic are expected to start in attack - but neither has found the back of the net so far this season.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Irish winger Carey, is the team’s creator in chief thus far with three assists to his name from four league appearances.

With a further three goals in six European outings, he will pose one of CSKA’s most potent attacking threats from midfield.

MATCH STATS

Roma have conceded just three times from their first five matches this season but average 2.8 goals a game themselves, having scored 14 times already.

There have been six previous meetings between these two sides, with Roma winning four times, playing out one draw and losing to CSKA just once.

CSKA’s sole victory in this fixture came the last time they met, thanks to a 3-1 win in Bulgaria in Group E’s dead rubber of the Europa League last term.

Roma haven’t lost at home in Europe since 27 November 2018, when they lost 2-0 to Real Madrid. From their 13 matches since, they have won nine European fixtures at the Olimpico and drawn four times.

PLAYER STATS

  • After 1000 competitive matches as a coach, Mourinho’s record reads: W638, D205, L157.
     
  • CSKA players Kaloyan Krastev and Junior Nzila both represented Primavera sides during their respective spell in Italy with Bologna and Napoli.
Photo via cska.bg

WHAT THEY SAID

"The truth is that we thought too much about the match against Roma. It would be nice not to start the group with a defeat, unfortunately due to the injuries I don't know who I will have available. Two players were injured and we still don't know if they will recover." 

- CSKA Sofia coach Stoycho Mladenov after the draw with Slavia

 
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