1: Porto may finally have a ‘Porto’ team
Ok it may be too early to make such a bold statement, but the signs are good. Last nights victory at the very least sowed the seeds for a ‘Porto team’ to be able to grow this season. The Azuis e Brancos were massive underdogs for the clash at the Stadio Olimpico, after a 1-1 draw in the first leg, but managing to get over the line demonstrated a character that has seldom been seen of late.
The Dragões showed competency in the first half and ruthless finishing in the second. There is of course still room for improvement (see 3) but more of that same garra and courage throughout the season and Porto may yet prove some of the doubters wrong.
2: Roma’s petulance a worrying sign for Luciano Spalletti
If you haven’t yet seen Emerson Palmieri’s challenge on Jesus Corona, then please do- actually if you are squeamish then you better not. The Brazilians tackle looked more at home in the octagon than on a football pitch. De Rossi challenge wasn’t much better.
The Roma fans may complain that the three red cards, over the two legs, spoilt the tie and ultimately ruined their chances of qualification, but they can have no real complaints. Spalletti would do well to warn his players over any such ill discipline in the future. They don’t need to give an already strong Juventus team any more help in the Serie A title race.
3: Porto still lack true quality
Despite playing against nine men from the 51st minute Porto still struggled to dominate possession and in fact there were times during the second half where the Romans looked the likeliest scorers.
Sergio Oliveira optimised the lack of quality currently available to Nuno Espírito Santo. The Portuguese was brought on for Otávio mid-way through the second half and immediately gave the ball away cheaply, receiving a yellow card for his troubles. The rest of his performance was littered with poor decision making and pointless shots from outside the box.
The squad needs reinforcements! Good job Porto’s qualification guarantees them a cool £14m. Pinto Da Costa needs to get his wallet out and inject some true quality into the squad if Porto is to have any real chance of competing for top honours this year.
4: Arriverdverci Nainggolan?
Despite being linked with a move to Chelsea this summer, Radja Nainggolan promised to stay with the Roman outfit, for one more season at least. Last nights result may have just changed the Belgians mind. With no Champions League football and a Serie A title that already looks to heading to Turin, the midfielder may start to question why he should stay with the Giallorossi. Don’t be surprised if the former Cagliari man gives into the temptation of a big money move and a hefty pay rise. Watch this space!
5: Nuno Espírito Santo deserves some respect
When NES was confirmed as the new Porto boss back in June there were a lot of people in the Portuguese media suggesting that the former goalkeeper lacked the clout to manage a team like Porto. However after guiding the Dragões into the Champions League, and not to mention two straight league wins, I think it is time to give ‘Mr Motivator’ the credit he deserves. Porto’s great start to the season by no means suggests that NES is the new ‘special one’ but it is a good start.
What did you think of last nights result? Leave your comments below.