AS Roma welcome the visitors FC Porto in the Champions League Play-offs – 1/8 Finals. The match will be held on Tuesday, February, 12th, at the Stadio Olimpico (Rome).
Ahead of the Champions League spring knockouts, AS Roma are only seventh in the national standings, however, their Serie A performance is rather good. The Italians suffer no loss since their December 0:1 loss to Juventus. Roma held five rounds afterwards and registered no defeat. There are a few injured players; among the most significant losses is the Turkish midfielder Cengiz Under, whom the manager Eusebio Di Francesco had high expectations for. There is not much point in discussing the group stage developments, we believe, as it is all yet in the past – over the two-month period, the teams might have possibly undergone serious changes. We may state that Roma are looking very confident in the Serie A that features many contenders of FC Porto’s caliber and even stronger ones. The losses due to injuries are not too crucial – the main team’s forces are on the go. So, the Romans have every chance to celebrate a win on Tuesday.
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The visitors are seemingly fine – they lead the national competition, running three points ahead of the closest pursuers Benfica. But a deeper analysis suggests that Porto are not that flawless. Take, for example, their five latest Portuguese league fixtures. Porto gained three confident wins indeed, they downed the teams like Belenenses, Chaves, and Nacional; while, competing with the top tiers aspirants, they struggled. Porto drawed 0:0 against Vitoria de Guimaraes and Sporting – the sides claiming the European places. Thus, the visitors are presently confident only against the second-class opponents, and it brings some concern ahead of the Champions League encounter. There are also squad issues in Porto. Yet two attacking players are sick. Vincent Aboubakar has been injured long ago, and this is a significant loss for the ‘Dragoes’. Another African striker, Moussa Marega, has also been injured recently, and his record is rather impressive in this season. So, the outlook is not very promising for the guests – their two key players are unwell, and their results against solid opponents are bleak.
Considering all this, the Romans seem clear favorites. We’re betting on their win, but a 0.0 handicap is worth taking, as the travelling side will probably play defense first and may possibly end in a 0:0 scoreline.
Prediction for the match: AS Roma to win with a 0.0 handicap.