2019 Champions Round of 16 Predictions and Betting Picks: Roma vs FC Porto
When Roma and FC Porto clash at the Olimpico in Rome, it will mark the second time in three seasons that these two football clubs have played. The first meeting took place in the 2016-17 season when both Roma and Porto had to qualify for the Champions' League group stage, thanks to poor seasons the year prior. Porto got the better of the Italian club, and they progressed 4-1 on aggregate over two legs. This season, Porto was lights out in their group stage, topping the group 16 points (5W, 1D), while Roma had to claw their way to a second-place finish and qualify on nine points (W3, L3). On paper, this match favors Roma, but on the field of play and based on recent form, FC Porto look like the team to beat.
Porto has won this event twice in their club's history, and the most famous occasion came in 2004 under the tutelage of the "special one", Jose Mourinho. Mourinho guided a Porto squad through a gauntlet of good teams like Manchester United and Real Madrid en route to a 3-0 final win over Monaco. This success came on the heels of an unprecedented Treble for Porto the season prior where they took home trophies in the UEFA Cup (now known as the Europa League), the Primeira Liga and the domestic Taça de Portugal.
As for Roma, the two-time Serie A champions have not won the Champions League yet in their rich history. They have just one semi-final appearance in the last 35 years and a runner-up medal which came 35 years ago in 1983-84.
As it currently stands, bookmakers have FC Porto listed as -125 to advance to the quarter-finals. If you believe that Porto can replicate their winning ways of 2004, you can take a shot on them at +10000 to win the entire tournament - which is tied for the third longest shot on the board. Roma, on the other hand, is slight underdogs to advance from this series, sitting at -106. They are also +10000 to win the entire tournament, but with the way they have been playing lately, I would not bank on that for even $5.
First Leg: Tuesday February 12 @ 3:00 pm
Second Leg: Wednesday March 6 @ 3:00 pm
It's been a tumultuous season for Roma so far this year in league play and no one week encapsulates that more than the week that was. Roma were 3-0 winners this past Saturday over bottom of the table Chievo. Prior to that, they drew AC Milan 1-1 on home soil, and that came after a completely humiliating 7-1 loss to Fiorentina, which sent shockwaves through the entire football club and Italian footballing world.
Roma are essentially an enigma disguised as a football team. They have many experienced international players, yet they can't get out of their own way. Coming into this matchup against Porto, they are listed as slight underdogs, only because Porto in their own right are not faring too hot themselves. Roma have a few injury concerns to worry about in this matchup, which could lead to playing players out of position in order to account for the lack of depth this team has. It's going to be a tough two legs, and perhaps the one advantage the Italian team does have is that they get to play in front of their fans for the first leg, where getting a quick start and a positive result is definitely possible.
Possible Starting XI : Mirante, Karsdorp, Marcano, Jesus, Kolarov, Zaniolo, N'zonzi, Cristante, El Shaarawy, Dzeko, Kluivert
FC Porto Storylines
FC Porto is another team who have fared poorly over the last week or so in domestic play. The Portuguese side have consecutive draws on their resume against teams well below them in the standings. Porto has now just a one-point lead atop the league table over Benfica.
Coming into this game, Porto have some selection problems of their own as Jesus Corona is absent due to suspension while Vincent Aboubakar and Moussa Marega are out with injury. These three players are key contributors to the lineup when available, so it'll be up to the likes of Francisco Soares to score the goals and Yacine Brahimi to provide support from outside.
Perhaps their biggest advantage in this match comes in net with Iker Casillas, who recently racked up his 100th Champions League victory over Galatasaray in Porto's last group stage game. His experience will be vital in organizing the backline and commanding the penalty area.
Possible starting lineup: Casillas, Militao, Felipe, Pepe, Telles, Pereira, Torres, Herrera, Otavio, Soares, Brahimi
Roma vs FC Porto Predictions
If history holds true, then Roma are in real trouble. Roma have never beaten this Portuguese outfit in their history, drawing twice and losing twice. However, Roma play extremely well on home soil, winning seven of their last eight home games. As I mentioned earlier, if Roma can turn in a positive result, they will have the upper hand in this fixture. However, Porto are just too good right now and will benefit from extra motivation after being eliminated at this point in the competition last year by Liverpool (5-0 on aggregate). The Portuguese side can in fact score goals, as they scored three or more goals in four out of five group stage wins and a good attack is something Roma struggle to cope with. Not to mention, Porto are unbeaten in 14 away matches to date and already have a 3-0 win under their belt at the Olimpico. I'm taking Porto to advance at -125.
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