Football

Clash against Porto could change our season: Pellegrini

AS Roma have had a disappointing season so far but their last-16 clash with Porto at the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow morning (Singapore time) could "change our season", according to midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini.

Sitting sixth in Serie A, the Giallorossi are adrift of the Champions League places and suffered a humiliating Coppa Italia quarter-final exit two weeks ago, with 10th-placed Fiorentina handing them a 7-1 hammering.

ROUND OF 16, 1ST LEG
ROMA PORTO

This after Roma reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and finished third in Serie A last season.

Azzurri midfielder Pellegrini told Italian broadcaster Tele Radio Stereo: "Porto aren't a top, top European team, but they're still a great side.

"They're physical, they play good football, run a lot and know what they want. It'll be a very difficult game, but we want to advance.

"After last year, we know what it means to go through, plus it can change our season, despite the difficulties we've faced so far...

"This year we've made a lot of mistakes, we won't deny that.

"If we replayed the match against Fiorentina, it wouldn't end 7-1 to them again. Everyone has to improve."

Roma boss Eusebio di Francesco, meanwhile, stressed that as Italy's only other Champions League representative, alongside Juventus, the Giallorossi " have to be ambitious".

He said: "It's an important opportunity for us to have a great game and regain enthusiasm.

"There are only two Italian sides left in the Champions League, so we have to be ambitious...

"Porto, beyond individuals... are among the teams who have won the most defensive duels in the Champions League."

Porto are top of the pile in Portugal and have won all but one of their Champions League matches.

Football