The time has come for the knock-out round of the biggest international competition in Europe, the Champions League. The first matches of the round of 16 will be played this week, starting with a clash between hosts AS Roma and FC Porto on Tuesday. The two teams have met in the past and it is FC Porto who have always been great. AS Roma will have to find a way to get an advantage in this first leg, as they will surely struggle in Portugal.
Date/Time: 2-12-2019, 15:00 EST
Spread: FC Porto +0.5
Total: 2.5 Goals
AS Roma lost their last two matches in the group stage but did eventually progress from the group behind Real Madrid. That loss to Real Madrid also put an end to their seven-match winning streak at home in Champions League matches. AS Roma have had a rather mediocre run in this stage of the competition over the years, with three wins and three losses. They had lost five consecutive matches in the round of 16 when they beat Shakhtar Donetsk last season. AS Roma were in great form since that loss against Real Madrid and they have been firing in all cylinders at home this season, an average of 2.67 goals per match. AS Roma’s record on two-legged knock-out ties against teams from Portugal stands at W3 L3. Their most recent loss was at home against Porto in2016, a loss that was Roma’s second in their last 11 matches against Portuguese sides (5-2-4).
On the other hand, FC Porto did a stunning job in their Champions League group, winning five matches and eventually topping it (5-0-1). Moreover, they scored three goals or more in four of those wins and are now undefeated in 14 away matches in all competitions. However, they’ve had some tough luck in this stage of the competition over the years, with just three wins and seven losses, and winning just once in their last five ties. But this is the third consecutive year that FC Porto manage to reach this stage but have not made it past this round since 2014/15. Porto have been solid in two-legged ties against Italian sides, winning five of their nine overall. Their win to Roma back in 2016 was their first win in seven trips to Italy (1-4-2). They will come into this match with some important absences, as Marega, Aboubakar and Corona have been ruled out, while Marius and Pereira are still questionable to participate.
The two teams last met in the last qualifying round before the Champions League group stage back in the 2016/17 season. After a 1-1 draw in Portugal, FC Porto went on to beat Roma by a harsh 3-0 in this venue to clinch their ticket to the next round.
AS Roma usually produce a lot of goals at home and this looks like it will feature at least two or three goals. I would feel much more comfortable if FC Porto weren’t missing some key players, so I will take AS Roma to win this one.
Champions League AS Roma vs FC Porto Prediction: AS Roma -0.5 (+107)
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