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10-man Roma pick up Champions League draw with Porto
FC Porto came from behind to draw 1-1 with Mohamed Salah’s Roma side in the first leg of their Champions League play-off, in a game which revolved around referee decisions as Vermaelen’s red card and Andre Silva’s penalty negated a Felipe own-goal in the opening stages.
Porto XI: Casillas; Pereira; Marcano; Felipe; Layun; Danilo; Herrera; Andre Andre; Otavio; Adrian; Silva.
Roma XI: Alisson; Florenzi; Manolas; Vermaelen; Jesus; De Rossi; Nainggolan; Strootman; Salah; Dzeko; Perotti.
While both sides are regulars in the Champions League, they will have to enter the competition via the pre-tournament play-offs as a result of both sides finishing 3rd in their respective leagues.
Porto, under the new management of Nuno, came into the game on the back of a 3-1 away win at Rio Ave in the opening game of their league campaign, while Roma are yet to start the full season.
Roma got off to a dream start in this tie, as they scored an away goal via an own goal by Brazilian defender Felipe. Salah’s took his corner short to Florenzi, and his dangerous cross into the middle proved too much for Felipe to handle, and his miss-hit clearance found the back of the net.
The Giallorossi would continue to have more possession, and they almost doubled their lead when Mohamed Salah’s one on one was saved well by Casillas, not once but twice, and Nainggolan failed to convert his rebound from the same shot.
Although they were dominating the game, the Roma defenders were putting in several rash challenges, and before long most of their defence had been booked.
They would soon pay for this, as following a through ball from Otavio, former Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen would attempt to clear but in the process his foot caught the Porto man and he received a second yellow for dangerous play.
This would prove to be a turning point in the game, as Spalletti brought on Emerson for Perotti in a defensive change to account for the lack of Vermaelen. The change almost left Spalletti with egg on his face as Emerson appeared to handle the ball inside the area, however the Dutch referee failed to give a penalty.
As the second half started, Porto picked up where they left off and continued to create chances, however young striker Andre Silva in particular was fairly wasteful so they failed to capitalise.
The game was almost brought level in controversial style as, following some ricochets on the edge of the box, the ball fell to Adrian who finished past Alisson into the back of the net. At first the goal was given, however following strong protests by the Roma players, referee Bjorn Kuipers discussed with his linesman and eventually the goal was rightly wiped off.
Kuipers was at the centre of attention yet again moments later, as he awarded Porto a penalty for handball. Again, it was Emerson who committed the offence however he didn’t get away with it this time. Andre Silva finally got his way onto the scoresheet with a well struck penalty into the top left corner, leaving Alisson with no chance.
Towards the end of the game, Leandro Paredes and Maxi Pereira would ignite their Argentina-Uruguay rivalry on the pitch as a full blown fight nearly broke out between the two, which saw both of them get booked. Moments later, Casillas was not fooled by the resultant free kick and made the result 1-1.
The result means that Roma have a slight advantage going into the second leg due to the away goal, which means that Porto need to either win the game outright or draw the match with 2 or more goals being scored by each team in order to go through.
Roma’s next match is their Serie A opener against Udinese, while Porto’s weekend sees them face Estoril, in which both sides are expected to win.