Di Francesco knows his side cannot afford to go for draw at Porto

Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2019 by PA

Di Francesco knows his side cannot afford to go for draw at Porto

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco knows his side cannot afford to try to defend a slender lead after Nicolo Zaniolo’s double helped to edge out Porto 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

The Italian side had looked well set to after Zaniolo struck twice in the space of six second-half minutes, Edin Dzeko having hit the post in the first half.

However, Porto, who had progressed as Group D winners, gave themselves something to take into the return leg at Estadio do Dragao on March 6 when Lopez Adrian fired in a half-volley with 11 minutes to go.

“We won’t play to defend a draw, that would be the biggest mistake,” Di Francesco said at a press conference.

“We’ll go there to score goals. We’ve got to be daring. The games are always open.”

Di Francesco continued: “There was a lot of solidity from the team and we knew what we wanted.

“We hit them at the right time, and created many situations, giving away very little. Too bad for us conceding the goal, because it is not really our mistake.”

The Roma boss was impressed with Zaniolo’s display, showing great composure to tuck home a second goal after a shot from Dzeko dropped to him off the post.

“He played in a role that is not his, but he did a great game,” Di Francesco said.

“We have a strong player and we knew it. He has to manage all of this with the balance he is showing on the field.”

Porto coach Sergio Conceicao feels his men can take confidence into the second leg.

“The players reacted (to going 2-0 down) like I expected them to – with character, personality and knowing that there are 90 more minutes in Estadio do Dragao,” he said.

“Our goal leaves it all open for the second leg. A draw would have been the fair result.

“Let’s keep this defensive strength at home and be more focused on attack like we were in the second half today.”


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