Zaniolo’s teenage kicks inspires Italian side with second-half double but Lopez strike keeps away side’s Champions League dream alive


NICOLO ZANIOLO inspired Roma to victory in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League match against Porto with a quick-fire second-half double.

The 19-year-old looked to have put the Italian side on course for a comfortable victory before Adrian Lopez’s crucial away goal leaves it all to play for in the second leg.

Nicolo Zaniolo inspired Roma to victory against Porto
AP:Associated Press
The 19-year-old scored a quick-fire second-half double

The knockout stages are the first in the competition to feature VAR and it was called into action early at the Stadio Olimpico when the ball struck the hand of Pepe.

Although play carried on, Fazio then spurned a huge chance to open the scoring after mistiming his jump in acres of space following a beautiful delivery from Pellegrini.

Dzeko went closest for the home side during the first half, latching onto a chip from Fazio before turning inside Eder Militao and hammering his effort onto the near post.

Di Francesco’s men emerged for the restart fired up and Cristante had an early second-half shot denied by Casillas before Pellegrini fired the rebound into orbit.

Zaniolo slots home the rebound for his second
Getty – Contributor
Roma have the initiative heading to Portugal

The away side’s first real chance of the game arrived from a set-piece as Telles’ corner was met by Danilo but the midfielder couldn’t edge his attempt inside the far post.

Roma finally engineered the breakthrough with just over 20 minutes left as Dzeko does superbly to shrug off Pepe and find Zaniolo in the box.

The 19-year-old almost squandered the opportunity with a lax first touch but under pressure from Telles, Zaniolo lashed a right-footed strike into the far corner.

The attacking midfielder doubled his tally five minutes later after Dzeko saw his low effort once again rebound off the post but this time Zaniolo was there to slot home.

Adrian Lopez netted a priceless away goal to take away some of the shine from Roma’s victory

Adrian Lopez then stole the priceless away goal for Porto three minutes later after Soares’ sliced shot dropped kindly for the striker to control and finish.

The Portuguese giants pushed to no avail for an equaliser with Herrera going close with a wonder strike from distance that narrowly went wide of Mirante’s post.

The result ended a five-match winning run in Europe for Porto, who will welcome Roma to the Estadio do Dragao for the second leg on March 6.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here