Match Preview: Porto vs AS Roma

FC Porto v RB Leipzig - UEFA Champions League
PORTO, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 01: General view outside the Estadio do Dragao the prior the UEFA Champions League group G match between FC Porto and RB Leipzig at Estadio do Dragao on November 1, 2017 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Porto welcomes Roma at the Dragao tonight, as the Portuguese champions will be looking to recover from a 2-1 deficit from the first leg.

Both sides go into the second leg of their Round of 16 tie after big domestic defeats – Porto was beaten 2-1 by Benfica and lost the first place in Primer Liga, while Roma suffered a 3-0 defeat to their local rivals Lazio in Serie A.

Nicolo Zaniolo was the hero in the first leg, as the young Italian scored twice to secure a home victory for the Giallorossi.

Team news

Moussa Marega, who has five goals in the competition this season, has recovered from a thigh injury quicker than expected and could feature for Porto after playing 90 minutes against Benfica at the weekend.

Vincent Aboubakar remains out after surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in September. Adrian Lopez might start the game, after coming off the bench to score an away goal for Porto in the first leg.

Kostas Manolas has been struggling with both an ankle problem and virus in recent weeks and the Greece international is a huge doubt for the visitors.

Nicolo Zaniolo limped out of the Lazio game but is expected to be fit, while Cengiz Under has not played since picking up a thigh injury against Torino in January and is expected to miss the game for AS Roma.

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What did the managers say

Sergio Conceicao believes that the game is in Porto’s hands and the Portuguese champions need to be effective in both attack and defense if they want to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

“We need to win the game, but not so quickly. We have to be at a good level defensively. Roma have the third-best attack in Serie A. Balance will be essential to get the win.

“The collective is what counts. Our confidence is from our day-to-day work, not from any individual player. We need to be effective in attack, but also in defense. There’s no need for a battle-cry: the game is in our hands.”

Eusebio Di Francesco has told to his players to defend their result from the first leg, but always be ready for a counter attack if a chance opens up for AS Roma.

“We will have to be determined and defend the advantage we have ā€“ and look to hit them on the break when we can. We’ll need to be very switched on defensively throughout.

“Every player in the squad knows they need to be ready to play at any moment and no one knows the team we will pick. I want to decide, in the end, by looking into the players’ eyes and seeing who is ready for the battle.”

Stats

  • Porto are without a win in their last six Champions League knockout matches.
  • Roma have lost each of their last seven Champions League knockout stage matches away from home.
  • Porto knocked out Roma in their two previous two-legged encounters (1981/82 Cup Winners’ Cup second round, 2016/17 Champions League play-off).
  • In the first leg against Porto, Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo became the second youngest (19y 225d) player to score a brace in a Champions League knockout match behind Kylian Mbappe in April 2017 for Monaco (18y 113d).
  • Edin Dzeko has been involved in 14 goals in his last 11 Champions League appearances for Roma (10 goals, 4 assists).

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