Edin Dzeko smashed a huge chance against the upright, as Roma had the better of the first half, but it’s still 0-0 with Porto in the Champions League Round of 16.
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The Giallorossi reached the semi-finals last season, but hosted a Porto side who were unbeaten in the current Champions League campaign, winning five in a row going into this first leg of the Round of 16. Roma went out to the Portuguese club in both previous meetings, most recently the 2016 Champions League preliminary round with a 3-0 defeat here, in which Daniele De Rossi and Emerson Palmieri were sent off.
Robin Olsen was only fit for the bench, so Antonio Mirante made only his second Champions League game, with Cengiz Under, Patrik Schick, Diego Perotti and Rick Karsdorp out of action. Kostas Manolas and Daniele De Rossi shook off problems to start in a Roma XI with seven Italians. Porto missed top scorer Moussa Marega, striker Vincent Aboubakar and Jesus Corona, who was suspended as punishment for purposefully getting himself banned in the final group game.
The hosts didn’t make the most of two promising early counter-attacks, with the final pull-back intercepted in a slightly panicked fashion, as Yacine Brahimi risked an own goal on Edin Dzeko’s cross.
Pepe kicked the ball on to his own hand right on the edge of the area, but a silent check from the VAR booth – a novelty for the Champions League Round of 16 – confirmed it was unintentional.
Iker Casillas flapped at an Aleksandar Kolarov cross and Lorenzo Pellegrini’s rebound was straight at the veteran goalkeeper. Fernando Soares also scuffed a finish into Mirante’s arms, while Pellegrini’s free kick flashed inches past the heads of both Kostas Manolas and Federico Fazio and Felipe’s decisive interception stopped El Shaarawy going clear on goal.
Dzeko thought he’d scored on 38 minutes when he cut back inside past a defender with his left foot and blasted on to the upright with his right boot.
Roma 0-0 Porto (Half-Time)
Roma: Mirante; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Cristante, De Rossi, Pellegrini; Zaniolo, Dzeko, El Shaarawy
Porto: Casillas; Eder Militao, Pepe, Felipe, Telles; Herrera, Danilo Pereira, Fernando; Otavio, Soares, Brahimi
Ref: Makkelie (NED)