Roma v Porto preview: all you need to know
Reporter’s view (Ben Gladwell, UEFA.com): It has been a turbulent winter for Roma, with a 7-1 Coppa Italia defeat by Fiorentina and several Serie A setbacks, but they are unbeaten in their last six league outings and will be delighted to be back in UEFA Champions League action.
This competition brought the best out of them last season, and they have a score to settle with Porto considering their play-off elimination in 2016, so motivation levels are high in the Giallorossi camp. I expect a European tonic on Tuesday.
Roma: Mirante; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Pellegrini, De Rossi, Cristante; Zaniolo, Džeko, El Shaarawy
Out: Schick (thigh)
Doubtful: Ünder (thigh), Perotti (calf), Olsen (calf)
Misses next game if booked: none
Porto: Casillas; Éder Militão, Filipe, Pepe, Alex Telles; Danilo, Herrera, Óliver Torres; Otávio, Soares, Brahimi
Out: Marega (tigh), Corona (suspended)
Misses next game if booked: Éder Militão, Otávio, Pepe
Džeko v Pepe: Roma have plenty of young emerging talents including 19-year-old Nicolò Zaniolo, who is making waves in Serie A and is expected to start in attack against Porto. When they need crucial goals, however, the Giallorossi’s most reliable option remains Edin Džeko. The physical duel between the Bosnian striker and his fellow competition stalwart Pepe could be crucial in the tie.
Where to watch
Latest: Chievo 0-3 Roma (08/02)
Form: WDLDWWWWLW (all comps, most recent first)
Latest: Moreirense 1-1 Porto (08/02)
Eusebio Di Francesco, Roma coach
This game is a great chance to produce a big performance and bring back some enthusiasm. We need to be strong defensively tomorrow. It’s vital we don’t concede, although we can’t allow that desire to compromise our identity and the way we want to play.
Sérgio Conceição is doing a great job, he’s given Porto a clear identity. Despite their injuries, they are a compact, organised side. It’ll be a physically demanding game.
Sérgio Conceição, Porto coach
It’s 180 minutes. We have to compete and we must be smart. We have to be strong and consistent as a team. We must be at our best. Our goal is to advance to the quarter-finals.
Obviously entering this stadium brings back memories of happy years and the many trophies I won at Lazio [1998–2000, 2003/04]. It’s always emotional coming to Rome, but my focus is this game.