Sergio Conceicao insists Porto “deserved a draw” in their 2-1 defeat to Roma and is “convinced we’ll go through to the quarter-final.”
Nicolò Zaniolo had put the Giallorossi 2-0 up with a brace, but Adrian Lopez made the most of a wayward Soares shot to give Porto a potentially decisive away goal.
The second leg of this Champions League Round of 16 is at the Estadio do Dragao on March 6.
“My team managed to neutralise Roma’s strengths in the first half. We came close to scoring with Danilo’s header after the break and were in control with our best period of the game when Roma scored in fairly chaotic circumstances, with Yacine Brahimi down injured and confusion on the bench.”
There were indeed some very tense scenes on the touchline just before that, as Brahimi had gone off for treatment, came back on and sat down on the ground when realising he could not continue.
He was a long way off the action, so Roma continued their move and almost scored.
This sparked a furious row between Conceicao and Eusebio Di Francesco, as the former Lazio wing-back has clearly still remembered some Italian insults.
“Then we conceded the second goal off a ricochet, but did not stop fighting and the team reacted precisely the way I expected. This side has character and this was only the first half of the tie.
“Our goal leaves everything open for the second leg. I do believe the fair result this evening would’ve been a draw. We have to be more solid defensively at the Dragao and more incisive upfront.
“What we must not forget is that no opponent is comfortable when we step up the pace and intensity. We might not be the best team in the world, but we are the biggest fighters. I have no doubt about it.
“We need to make some adjustments, but I am convinced we’ll go through to the quarter-final.”
This was Porto's first Champions League defeat of the season after a draw and five victories.