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Hello. The latter stages of the Champions League: a funny place to be if you aren’t one of the super clubs. Shocks are rare in this competition and unpredictability is limited. If you don’t have hundreds of millions to chuck around every summer, you can probably forget about winning it. If you don’t have elite players, history suggests there’s only so far you can go.
But it is a knockout competition, so you never know, and both of these sides will reckon they have a fine chance of making the quarter-finals. Having finished second in their group, Roma must be pretty relieved not to have landed one of your Barcelonas or your Bayern Munichs or your PSGS. Having finished top of theirs, Porto must be pretty pleased to have avoided your Liverpools, your Atletico Madrids, your Manchester Uniteds. It’s all to play for at the Stadio Olimpico this evening!
And it’s also very hard to call. Trying to pick a favourite isn’t easy. Porto, top of the Portuguese league by a point and unbeaten since October, will be happy to have the second leg at home and Sergio Concecaio will feel confident that he has enough experience and firepower at his disposal to reach the last eight. But while Roma are having a sticky season domestically – Eusebio Di Francesco’s side are sixth in Serie A after an inconsistent run of results and lost 7-1 to Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia last month – the Italians knocked out Barcelona on their way to reaching the last four last season and should represent a step up in class for Porto, who topped a group containing Galatasaray, Lokomotiv Moscow and Schalke. In conclusion: anything could happen. Which is just how it should be.
Kick-off: 8pm GMT, 9pm in Rome.
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