Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 8/11
Certainly one of the highlight games of the UEFA Champions League play-off round will cause plenty of attention in the second leg as well with Roma and Porto heading into the crucial match-up after the 1-1 draw in Lisbon.
Giallorossi’s hopes of progressing through to the group stage of Europe’s elite club competition were boosted at the weekend with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Udinese at the opening of the new Serie A season. Luciano Spalletti’s men have put in a memorable display in front of home crowd as Perotti’s brace and goals from Dzeko and Salah in the closing stages of the match earned Roma their first three points in the new campaign. Sights are already set on the UEFA Champions League play-off return leg against Porto which has been described as the biggest game of the season already. The first leg on 17 August ended in an eventful 1-1 draw at the Estadio do Dragao. Giallorossi opened the scoring through an own goal from Monteiro in the first half which was completely dominated by the Italian side. With Thomas Vermaelen ending the game prematurely due to the second booking, Roma were left with ten men against the determined hosts in the second half. Portugal giants levelled the score through Silva, but failed to come from behind despite controlling the game after the break. Italians are now presented with a good chance to finish the job in front of their own fans and end their first-ever Champions League play-off in a success.
Return leg against Porto comes too soon for Alessandro Florenzi and Leandro Paredes, who are yet to recover from their respective injuries.
Luciano Spalletti has been given a selection boost as Kostas Manolas is likely to be available despite his shaky physical condition. Thomas Vermaelen remains suspended due to red card in the first match.
Dragoes travel to Italy hoping to put in a composed performance and avoid displaying two completely different scenarios that were on stage in the first leg. Nuno Espirito Santo’s men are able to deal with individually more quality rival, but they will need concentration throughout entire 90 minutes if they are to reach the group stage of the Champions League. The 1-1 draw did not have any effect on Porto’s weekend duties in the domestic championship however. Dragoes defeated Estoril at home with a goal from the in-form Silva, who netted in his third consecutive game for Porto. Portugal under-21 international Andre Silva has impressed early in the season and his club Porto decided to reward him for fine performances. Talented youngster has been given a timely boost with a new five-year contract with Porto in a deal that includes a release clause in excess of €60 million. Young Silva is expected to lead the line once again as Porto travel to Italy hoping to record their first win in last five UEFA fixtures.
Nuno Espirito Santo will be pleased with the fact he will have almost his full squad at disposal for the Roma clash.
Midfielder Sergio Oliveira remains the only unavailable player as he is still struggling with his injury.
Key Factors to Consider
- Porto are winless in their last 5 UEFA fixtures
- Roma are currently playing their first-ever UCL play-off
- Giallorossi are without defeat in their last seven matches in all competitions
- Dragoes scored at least once in all of their last seven matches
- Italians have notched 5 home wins in all competitions
AS Roma will be hoping that homesupport would provide them with enough of a cutting edge to dispatch their Portugal rivals and have a successful ending to their first-ever Champions League play-off. A goal away is an advantage to defensively tight unit such as Roma, but Porto are not to be underestimated. We still expect to see a home win at Stadio Olimpico.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 8/11
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