Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Champions League, Round of Sixteen, 1st Leg
Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 20:00
Roma returned to winning ways just in time for the arrival of a nemesis: FC Porto. The current Primeira Liga side has never lost to the Giallorossi (W2, D2) and in the midst of a 26-match unbeaten run (W22, D4), they will be confident of maintaining that record.
The Italians are among the goals with five of the last six seeing over 2.5 goals (four, over 3.5 goals). Among those matches was an implosion in Florence where Fiorentina hit them for seven in the Coppa Italia.
SPAL and Real Madrid are the only teams to win at the Olimpico this season where Roma are unbeaten in six (W4, D2). Five of those games saw over 3.5 goals. The draw with Milan last week was the first time this season Eusebio Di Francesco’s scored under two goals and taken points at home.
Both clubs fell to Liverpool in last season’s competition. FC Porto fell 5 – 0 at home to the Reds at this stage. Roma found themselves tantalisingly close to recovering from 5 – 0 and 7 – 3 deficits; the final 7 – 6 aggregate score a testament to their durability.
This season seems, on paper, tougher but before the Giallorossi lost 2 – 1 in Plzen in the final group match, they had already qualified for this stage of the competition. Porto were also early qualifiers, winning a rudimentary group with 16 points. The Dragões only dropped points in their opening game at Schalke.
Porto come into the game with five consecutive wins in the Champions League, two of which were away and in which they scored three goals on each occasion and three at home. Indeed, they are unbeaten in their last five away Champions League matches (W2, D3). Confidence is not in short supply for the Portuguese.
Roma, by contrast, lost their last two group games: 2 – 0 at home to Real Madrid and 2 – 1 in Plzen. Their record in the competition is patchy at best. Prior to beating Shakhtar Donetsk in last season’s Round of Sixteen, the Italians lost five consecutive matches at this stage. However, as last season proved, you don’t need to win every game; just make sure the deficits from the first leg aren’t insurmountable.
Di Francesco and Porto coach Sérgio Conceição are no strangers. The pair were on opposing sides as players in four Roman derbies with di Francesco coming out on top two wins to one, with one drawn. The Roma coach scored in the 3 – 3 draw in 1998.
Both won Serie A as players; Conceição with Lazio in 1999/2000, di Francesco with Roma the following season.
Porto dominate the head-to-head meetings and are unbeaten in four matches. The first in 1981/82 saw them win 2 – 0 on aggregate while in 2016, they won a playoff tie 4 – 1 over the two legs.
To date, Roma haven’t scored against Porto in the Stadio Olimpico (D1, L1) and have just one goal against the Portuguese club in total.
AS Roma Team News
Flying Turkish winger Cengiz Under is out with Kostas Manolas, Robin Olsen, Diego Perotti and Patrick Shick all facing a race against time to be fit for Tuesday’s game.
Daniele Di Rossi was rested at the weekend and seems likely to start.
FC Porto Team News
Vincent Aboubakar and Moussa Marega are missing this match through injury while Jesus Corona is suspended for the first leg.
Sérgio Conceição has no other injury concerns for the trip to Rome.
Despite their recent problems, Roma remain a tough nut to crack on their own turf. And while Porto are on an impressive unbeaten run, their level of opposition is a step down from the Champions League.
With last season’s trip to the semi-finals to draw upon, we like Roma to win at 11/10 with Betfair.
- Match to end drawn: 5/2 with BetVictor
- FC Porto to win: 147/50 with Marathon Bet
- Roma to qualify for QF: 19/20 with Ladbrokes
- FC Porto to qualify for QF: 20/21 with BoyleSports
- Edin Dzeko, First Goalscorer: 9/2 with 188Bet