Roma v Porto: Champions League last 16, first leg – live! | Football
51 min: Roma are trying to press high and play with more energy. Let’s see how long it lasts.
48 min: Roma’s best hope might be forcing an error from Casillas through the simple tactic of putting a cross into the box. A bit of flapping from the Porto goalkeeper almost leads to a calamity, but Cristante can’t take advantage.
Half-time: Roma 0-0 Porto
Let’s be charitable and call it a tight game.
45 min: Pellegrini stays down after a collision with Tiquinho. Play stops so he can receives some treatment. He’s fine.
42 min: El Shaarawy almost breaks through on the left. But he doesn’t.
37 min: Fazio picks out Dzeko with a wonderful pass from deep. The striker takes the ball down brilliantly, cuts past Militao, moves inside the area and looks certain to score as he draws back his right foot. But with only Casillas to beat, he slams a powerful shot against the right post and the ball bounces away to safety! It was wonderful play until the finish.
35 min: Pellegrini sends in another set-piece, a corner this time, but Dzeko heads over.
34 min: A free-kick to Roma on the right. Pellegrini whips it in and Manolas, who scored the winner against Barcelona last season, can’t quite rise high enough in the middle. The defender was unmarked.
32 min: Roma haven’t had a decent attack since the first 10 minutes. They look very one-dimensional.
30 min: Otavio wriggles into the box from the right and finds Fernando, who turns and shoots straight at Mirante.
29 min: A minor disagreement in the middle after Fernando objects to El Shaarawy having a nibble at his heels.
27 min: Kolarov crosses from the left. Casillas claws it away unconvincingly. Moments later Cristante sweeps a shot straight at Casillas from 18 yards.
25 min: Porto are starting to dominate possession. Roma seem to be short on ideas, though there’s every chance Dzeko could come up with something.
22 min: Porto will be pleased with how they’ve started. Apart from a couple of iffy moments at the back they’ve mostly kept Roma at arm’s length and have looked strong in midfield. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them snatch a goal either.
17 min: Porto attack down the left and lift the ball into the Roma area. The defending isn’t great. A poor clearance lands at the feet of Otavio on the edge of the area, but he isn’t assertive enough and the chance disappears.
11 min: Porto make a hash of the free-kick. Roma counter immediately. Dzeko runs down the left and curls a cross into the middle. Casillas dives out again, but Brahimi doesn’t get the shout and steps in to clear. For a moment I thought it was going to be an own goal, but Brahimi gets away with it.
10 min: Fernando rumbles down the left and wins a free-kick off Florenzi. This is a decent chance to load the box for Porto.
7 min: El Shaarawy has a look down the left again and combines with the overlapping Kolarov, who’s always an option in attack. The left-back fizzes a low ball into the six-yard box and almost finds Dzeko, but Casillas claims the cross.
4 min: Porto try to make like Manchester City at the back, only for Felipe to make a total mess of it. He loses out to Pellegrini and then compounds the error with a weak challenge that allows Roma to attack. El Shaarawy wanders down the left, wriggles inside the area and tries to set up Cristante, who’s tackled just in time by Herrera. That was so very nearly a calamity for Porto.
3 min: A fast start, with plenty of intensity in midfield. It all looks quite even.
Peep! Roma, in their red kit, get the game underway. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. De Rossi immediately pumps the ball forward and, er, out for a throw.
Before kick-off, there will be a minute’s silence to remember Emiliano Sala. Halfway through it respectful applause breaks out, which is a nice touch.
The following Porto players miss the next game if they are booked: Éder Militão, Otávio and Pepe. Of course Pepe. As for Roma, they have no such worries.
The teams are in the tunnel and the Roma fans are making an absurd amount of noise at the Stadio Olimpico. They know how to turn up the volume on a big night there. I was there when they beat Barcelona last season and my ears have only just recovered.
Roma: Mirante; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Pellegrini, De Rossi, Cristante; Zaniolo, Dzeko, El Shaarawy. Subs: Olsen, Jesus, Marcano, Santon, Pastore, Kluivert, Nzonzi.
Porto: Casillas; Militao, Felipe, Pepe, Telles; Herrera, Danilo, Fernando; Otavio, Soares, Brahimi. Subs: Vana, M Pereira, Costa, Hernani, Torres, Lopez, A Pereira.
Referee: Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
Hello. The latter stages of the Champions League: a funny place to be if you aren’t one of the super clubs. Shocks are rare in this competition and unpredictability is limited. If you don’t have hundreds of millions to chuck around every summer, you can probably forget about winning it. If you don’t have elite players, history suggests there’s only so far you can go.
But it is a knockout competition, so you never know, and both of these sides will reckon they have a fine chance of making the quarter-finals. Having finished second in their group, Roma must be pretty relieved not to have landed one of your Barcelonas or your Bayern Munichs or your PSGS. Having finished top of theirs, Porto must be pretty pleased to have avoided your Liverpools, your Atletico Madrids, your Manchester Uniteds. It’s all to play for at the Stadio Olimpico this evening!
And it’s also very hard to call. Trying to pick a favourite isn’t easy. Porto, top of the Portuguese league by a point and unbeaten since October, will be happy to have the second leg at home and Sergio Concecaio will feel confident that he has enough experience and firepower at his disposal to reach the last eight. But while Roma are having a sticky season domestically – Eusebio Di Francesco’s side are sixth in Serie A after an inconsistent run of results and lost 7-1 to Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia last month – the Italians knocked out Barcelona on their way to reaching the last four last season and should represent a step up in class for Porto, who topped a group containing Galatasaray, Lokomotiv Moscow and Schalke. In conclusion: anything could happen. Which is just how it should be.
Kick-off: 8pm GMT, 9pm in Rome.