Score: Porto 3 A.S Roma 1FT (Porto win 4-3 on AGG)
Following a dreadful Derby against Lazio in Rome’s 3-0 loss. Roma attempted to put that all behind them for an opportunity and a chance to make their second consecutive Champions League Quarter Finals. Roma came into the match with a 2-1 lead thanks to the brilliance of Nicolo Zaniolo Roma’s young Rising Star. However, FC Porto managed and Away goal which gives them hope of a comeback in the second leg. Roma desperately needed a response to a dreadful performance last weekend. The job safety of Eusebio di Francesco truly hangs in the balance ahead of the match. Despite their performance in the derby, there was a reason for optimism if Roma were able to play at their best their European campaign would only continue which would be great for Roma’s history and tradition in Europe. Portugal is not an easy place to play and Roma felt that immense pressure early in the match. Porto had complete control dominating possession and having twice as many chances. Roma to a certain extent did not create much and we’re just trying so hard not to concede a goal. Porto eventually got themselves in front through Soares as Porto took the 1-0 lead putting them on in control of the matchup leading on away goals. Despite not really being able to create much Roma eventually got back in the game and retook their lead over the two legs. Roma was given a penalty and Daniele de Rossi Roma’s captain converted from the spot as Roma retook the control. The first half ended 1-1 with Roma just needing to shut out Porto in the second how to secure the victory. However, that would be easier said than done as Moreira scored giving Porto back the lead. Roma did not try to create much as they were just honestly trying to hold out. The game eventually went into extra-time it became a little bit more balanced as Roma continued to their intensity trying to steal the game from Porto who seemed to be in control. 3 minutes till the end Porto was given a soft penalty as Alex Tellas gave Porto the 3-1 lead. In closing moments Patrik Schick was taken down in the Box but was ignored as a round of 16 ends in controversy as Roma get eliminated in Portugal.
Roma used a brand new formation for this upcoming match. After heavily relying on the 4-2-3-1 and the 443 formations. Roma opted for 3 at the back coming out the 3-4-3. In goal would be Robin Olson someone who I have lost some faith in over the last few weeks. At left-back would be Ivan Marcano, occupying the center back possession would be Kostas Manolas then to his right would be Juan Jesus at right back. In front of the defense as the left wingback would be Alex Kolarov. Beside him would be the central midfielders Roma Captain Daniele de Rossi and Steven Nzonzi. Then at the right wing-back would be Rick Karsdorp. Roma’s front three in their attack would look very similar to last week’s. On the left wing would beat Diego Perotti who has slowly been transitioned back into the squad after suffering injuries this season. On the other side on the right wing would be Roma teen sensation Nicolo Zaniolo. Then in as the main Striker would be Edin Dzeko as well as a bench with a lot of options. I was not particularly happy with what was on the team sheets I saw that Lorenzo Pellegrini was a must-start and El Shaarawy should have started as well and the 4-3-2-1 formation made the most sense why change it now?
After preparations and predictions for this much-anticipated Champions League match, we were just about to get underway with two clubs quarter-finals Ambitions hanging in the balance. It was an emphatic atmosphere in Porto as the Portuguese side looked to create a comeback after losing the first leg 2-1. The Portuguese came out hyper-aggressive really attacking the Italians. In the opening 5 minutes, Jesus Manuel Correa saw his shot from a deep misfire. A very early chance for Porto who looked very strong in Porto had a few early chances but lacked the finishing touch required to get themselves back into the tie. Porto completely dominated possession and was moving the ball more swiftly allowing them to get into dangerous areas. Porto continuously hit really pressurizing the Roma defense. Roma had a barely any involvement throughout Ivan Marcano can close for Roma putting his head through an Alex Kolarov cross. Continuous pressure from Porto eventually paid off. In 26th minute Soares beat Robin Olson from very close range to give Porto the 1-0 lead. Porto now leads Roma with the away-goal advantage. Porto kept up their intensity but Roma slowly got back into the game no less than 10 minutes later Diego Perotti was brought down in the Box as Roma was given the penalty. Alex Kolarov has been Roma’s penalty taker this season however on this occasion Daniele de Rossi stepped up and deliver slotting it in the back of the net to equalize taking the advantage back with Roma. Making it 1-1 in Porto. Porto hit back almost immediately with the Daniela Pereira trying from deep. We got deeper into the first half and Porto continued to look strong using good ball movement not to mention the crowd was on their side. Right before halftime after Pereira tries to show his range from deep but Robin Olson was able to make the save as the first half came to a close. A very underwhelming performance from Roma but still themselves in the lead on away goals as it stood even in the match.
A Captain’s contribution Danielle De Rossi gives Roma the away goal.
It wasn’t particularly a strong performance from Roma in the first half but as long as they stayed the course they could get out of it alive. What ended up happening is Roma try to sit on it while Porto in front of the home fans tries to exploit them. The Porto attack just kept on coming and coming. Roma did make a change prior to the second half as Lorenzo Pellegrini came in for Daniele de Rossi. Just minutes into the second half Moussa Marega got his head through across the missed the target. Just a minute later Porto had another chance from another header but was unable to convert. He kept coming with yet another opportunity for Porto to breakthrough as Moussa Marega saw his shot saved. Porto we’re determined and in the 52nd minute, Moussa Marega broke through scoring a second for Porto giving them of the 2-1 lead. This goal would signify if the scores to stay the same extra time would be required as it is the identical score to the first leg. It became a possession battle has the game trailed off a little bit with not a lot of chances coming freely after the equalizer. Roma would make another change as Alexandro Florenzi came in for Rick Karsdorp. Roma lacked creativity and chance creation barely even provided much offensively. With about 20 minutes to go Edin Dzeko came close twice. Missing from Deep and then failing to convert a header coming from a cross. Nicolo Zaniolo tried an ambitious strike in his own rights but again poor execution as the score remained unchanged. It went back and forth for the remainder of the second half but we still did not have a winner as extra time was required. Early in extra time, Lorenzo Pellegrini picked up an injury forcing Patrik Schick into action. What could be a devastating blow if Lorenzo Pellegrini his injury is serious. It opened up a little bit during extra time as Edin Dzeko kept pushing trying to orchestrate a winning goal for Roma ultimately it was a very tough task in that hostile environment. Then in the 116th minute, we had some controversy Roma conceded a penalty. It was a true debate whether it was one and ultimately was the right decision despite being a soft penalty. Alex Telles smashed the ball into the top corner to give Porto the lead with just minutes remaining. In the closing minute’s controversy-hit as Roma found themselves on the wrong side of a controversial call. Victims once again of VAR Patrik Schick was clipped in the Box and almost completely ignored. They did not check the video and they’ve just let it slip. If you are a referee you cannot ignore a decision like that without reviewing especially in the last minute of the game. A VAR decision determines that the earlier penalty you cannot decide to play different rules for the Roma penalty than the earlier one. Roma gets eliminated from the Champions League and deservedly so as they did not do enough but with a late controversial decision leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
Roma fight until the end as Roma are victims of the VAR in another huge Champions league moment.
Roma falls just short of a second consecutive quarter-final. A match that will be highlighted by the conclusion as controversy harshly affects results. Roma did not adapt very well to the circumstances and Porto looked like the much better team throughout the match. The truth of the matter is Roma did to deserve their fate but not to the circumstances in which it evolved. Roma played defensively for the majority of the match once they got their away goal it really looked like they were playing at for the shootout which as we know it’s a coin flip. Porto dominated possession and control the game throughout. Roma had their lead going into this match which was quickly slashed as Porto were not messing around trying to orchestrate and their comeback. A penalty by Daniele de Rossi gave Roma the momentum despite a rather uncomfortable and uninspiring performance. Roma never seemed that much in the game as they were sitting back far too often and failed to create much of anything offensively they didn’t come to life until the very end of the match. As it happened because of the advantage Roma did have and the fact that they got an away goal this game became a little bit more balanced. However, it would be controversy and VAR Injustice that robbed Roma of the quarter-finals make no mistake Roma did not play very well their approach and their change of formation that did not help the situation and as always defensively they struggled to keep out a Porto side that had incredible courage to go for the throat. It was not a performance in which Roma can be happy with even though they fought back at the end with all that being said Porto deserve a lot of credit for what they have accomplished. They get a penalty with three minutes to the end it was a soft penalty I will admit but it still was the correct call. There might have been slight theatrics by Porto but nonetheless, it was a penalty. They consulted the VAR the referee looked at the video and gave the penalty. The problem becomes 2 minutes later Patrik Schick is taken down in the box and the referee does not look at the video or anything. In these situations, you need to treat all penalty calls with the same logic. Looking at one penalty differently then another is proving of biased its completely misusing your power and authority as a referee. Like I said Roma did not deserve to win this game and they did not play like a team who is desperate to get to the quarter-finals despite that a penalty should have been awarded at the end and it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Porto make their first quarterfinals since 1986 and I wish them well the rest of the Champions League campaign however under the circumstances Roma were victimized by the VAR. the man of the match goes to Diego Perotti who came on and played with the desire and determination and Roma will be pleased on his progression since his injury however Roma will feel that they got the short end of the stick regardless of their performance.