Roma will take a one-goal lead into their Champions League second leg against Porto after a narrow win at the Stadio Olimpico.
Nicolo Zaniolo bagged a quick-fire brace in the second half to put the Italians ahead in the tie, only for Adrian Lopez to pull back a crucial away goal.
The parity between the sides was clear from the outset of a closely contested contest, where both sides were content to sit back and wait for counter-attacking opportunities.
VAR was called into action when the ball struck Pepe’s hand on the edge of the area under pressure from Nicolo Zaniolo. The video referees either judged the handball was accidental or outside the area, as their review did not stop play.
Dzeko came closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening 45 when he latched onto a superb long ball from Federico Fazio, before cutting past his defender and unleashing a close-range shot that Iker Casillas parried onto the post.
Roma created several more chances in the second half (despite having less possession) via powerful drives from Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini, before Zaniolo broke the deadlock.
Dzeko collected a Stephan El Shaarawy cross in the box before laying it off for the 19-year-old, who struck low and confidently inside Iker Casillas’ far post.
Zaniolo doubled his tally six minutes later, with Dzeko’s help once again. The Bosnian’s low 20-yard drive hit the inside of the post and rebounded directly into the teenager’s path. He cooly struck into an empty net as Casillas failed to recover from the initial shot.
Moments later, Porto earned a valuable away goal when Andre Pereira’s mistimed shot landed in substitute Adrian Lopez’s path. The Spaniard volleyed brilliantly past goalkeeper Antonio Mirante, playing only his third game of the season.
The well-poised second leg will be contested at the Estádio do Dragão on Wednesday 6th March.