The Champions League knockout stage draw is rarely going to present an easy opponent, especially for group runners up. The dangers in those swirling ping pong balls are aplenty. That is especially true this year for a Roma side struggling to find it’s way. Just the other day, we previewed the possible knockout round opponents for Roma. The list included Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, PSG, and Porto; some of the best in Europe. As luck would normally have it, Roma would probably draw one of the best on that list; maybe City or a rematch with Barca. However, for once, fortune smiled on Roma and they drew the best possible scenario: FC Porto.
That is not to say that the Portuguese side will be an easy out. There are no easy outs once you get past the group stage; see Shakhtar Dontesk last season. However, of the threats that loomed, Porto seems to be the least imposing. Plus, Roma have a bit of a vendetta with the Dragões. As you may recall, just two short seasons ago, Porto eliminated Roma in the qualification round of the Champions League. One would think that the players who remain from that team, especially Captain Daniele De Rossi, would love nothing more than to vanquish the ghosts of the Estádio do Dragão.
Based on current form, of course, Roma would be unlikely to beat any team in the draw; Porto included. However, the two-legged affair won’t be played tomorrow, next week, or even next month. So, the team has plenty of time to turn things around before Porto looms on the calendar. EdF or whoever the manager may be will have plenty of time to have the team playing better football and head into the match up with confidence.
By the time the teams play in February, Roma will hopefully have all of its big guns back from injury. In addition, there will likely be some reinforcements in key areas to help the cause. While Roma will still likely enter the match-up against the Portuguese Primeira Liga leaders as at least slight underdogs, this scenario looks like it gives the Giallorossi to rekindle some of last year’s Champions League magic and return to the quarterfinals. As last year showed, if the team can get there, than all bets are off.