The two teams are gearing up for the biggest game as Porto prepares to host Roma in one of the most important games of the Champions League playoff this season.
Porto could only manage to finish third in the Portuguese championship last season and the team is boosted by the success recorded by the national team at the European Championship in the summer.
The “Dragon” is set to make their home advantage count in the first leg as they set their sight on the champions’ league group stage qualification.
Roma also finished third in the Serie A last season, with the team poised to make the group stage this season. Italian teams do not boast the best records in the champions’ league playoff. Ac Milan, in 2013, remained the only team to have made the group stage via playoff since 2010.
Setting the Stage for the Encounter Tonight
- The only meeting between the two teams in a UEFA competition was during the 1981/82 European Cup winners’ cup second round. The Portuguese team triumphed 2-0 at home and played out a 0-0 draw away.
- The Portuguese team record against Italian team after 26 games currently stands at W7 D8 L11.
- Roma in their 12 encounters with Portuguese club after 12 games is W5 D4 L3
- Porto is yet to score a goal in their last four UEFA encounters, all ending in defeat
- Porto has only been beaten once in the last 10 champions’ league ties at home.
- Roma is without a win in their last nine champions league away ties
Spalletti, the Roma coach, while addressing the media said, “I am set to win my first game of the season though it is complicated to get through the qualifier, this is a sandwiched game and we are built to win”
Nuno Espirito Santo, the new Porto coach who replaced Julen Lopeetegui after he took the Spain job, accentuates the importance of the game to the Portuguese club.
“We cannot go four years without winning a trophy,” Nuno said “Every day is decisive for our performance- we train, we play and we recover”
Men on the touchline
Nuno Espirito Santo, a former backup goalkeeper at Porto, rejoined the club as a coach in June 2016.
Luciano Spalletti won the Coppa Italia twice with Roma between 2005-2009 as a coach and he is back in charge for his second spell at the club since January 2016.