Roma, which reached the semifinals of the 2018 edition of the Champions League, got off to a solid start in their 2019 quest with a 2-1 home win over FC Porto.
Roma has had a disappointing season in general this year, finishing in second place in Champions League pool play and currently in sixth place in Italy’s Serie A.
Tuesday night’s triumph against the reigning champions of Portugal’s Primeira Liga was a sign that this could be the start of another unexpected deep run in the Champions League.
The first half at the Stadio Olímpico in Rome ended without any score, despite Roma looking like the better team in general.
In the second half, however, Eusebio di Francesco’s men began to take over.
19-year-old forward Nicolo Zaniolo opened the scoring with a 70th minute strike assisted by Edin Dzeko.
The same teenage forward was then assisted by Dzeko again only 6 minutes later to double Roma’s lead to 2-0, netting another goal past Iker Casillas.
Porto was able to salvage a goal before the match ended, however, as striker Adrian López scored a crucial away goal to improve his team’s chances to advance in the second leg.
The game ended 2-1. The decisive second leg of the draw will be played on March 6th at Porto’s Estádio do Dragão.