- FC Porto will have to overturn a one-goal deficit on Tuesday night at the Estadio do Dragao as they host Inter in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
- The home side will be without Evanilson and Otavio for the clash, whilst Milan Skriniar is a big doubt for the visitors.
- Inter will be aiming to reach the last eight for the first time since 2011, whilst Porto will look to at least match their 2021 performance and reach the quarter-finals.
The Portuguese champions will be without one of their main men in Otavio for the second leg here after the midfielder was sent off for a second bookable offence at the San Siro.
Joao Mario is a fresh doubt after he was forced off due to injury against Estoril last Friday. However, he could feature in this one and will likely be a game-time decision.
Forward Pepe has failed to start the last two games for Porto, despite regularly holding a place in the lineup next to Medhi Taremi up top. The pair appear to have been rested for the past two matches, in an attempt for them to be fresh for the second leg here.
Sergio Conceicao has a number of selection issues to deal with for the matchup, nonetheless, and midfielder Galeno has only just returned to action. It remains unclear whether he will be fit to start. Forward Evanilson will remain out with a thigh problem.
Inter have some selection issues of their own ahead of the second leg but appear to be in a much stronger position than Porto. Milan Skriniar is a doubt, however, and has missed all three of the Nerazzurri’s last matches due to a back injury.
Veteran Danilo D’Ambrosio started alongside Alessandro Bastoni and Francesco Acerbi in Friday’s 2-1 defeat away to Spezia but Simeone Inzaghi has also opted to use Matteo Darmian at right centre-back and is the likely option if Skriniar is unavailable.
Joaquin Correa remains a doubt and has failed to feature since the end of January. Inzaghi will also have to decide whether Edin Dzeko or Romelu Lukaku partners Lautaro Martinez up top.
Champions League Form
A late goal from Lukaku was enough for Inter to secure a 1-0 victory at the San Siro in the first leg. Porto had to play the final 15 minutes of the match with ten men after Otavio was dismissed and the loss put an end to their run of 22 games unbeaten.
The Dragons failed to make it out of the groups in last season’s campaign so this year’s last 16 appearance is still an improvement. However, if they are able to overcome the first leg defeat, they will be able to match their 2020/21 performance after reaching the quarter-finals where they were knocked out by Chelsea.
Inter were knocked out by Liverpool at this stage last season, despite recording a 1-0 triumph at Anfield in the second leg. Inzaghi’s side usually give a good account of themselves in the cup competitions and could be in line to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2011 this season. After three consecutive group stage finishes between 2018 and 2021, the Nerazzurri now seem to be on the up in Europe.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Porto 12, Inter 11
Goals Against: Porto 8, Inter 7
Both Teams To Score %: Porto 28.57%, Inter 14.29%
Over 2.5 Goals %: Porto 71.43%, Inter 28.57%
The Italian side secured their fourth ever win over Porto in the first leg, making it three consecutive victories over the Portuguese outfit. Although, all three of their last meetings have come at the San Siro and the last time they played in Porto, the hosts recorded a 2-0 victory. A repeat of that scoreline would be enough for the Dragons to qualify for the quarter-finals here.
Interestingly, ill-discipline has been the theme for Porto in all four of their last matches in all competitions. Otavio’s second yellow card at the San Siro was followed by two red cards in a 2-1 home defeat against Gil Vicente. Joao Mario and Mateus Uribe saw red in Porto’s first Primeira Liga defeat since October, as they now sit eight points behind leaders Benfica.
However, Conceicao’s men have responded since the back-to-back defeats and picked up wins away to Chaves and at home to Estoril. Although Porto were able to keep their discipline in the two victories, their opponents failed to do so, with Chaves being reduced to nine and Estoril being reduced to ten.
Inter continue to be met with inconsistency and have lost twice and won just once since their 1-0 win over Porto last month. A 1-0 defeat away to Bologna was met with a 2-0 triumph over Lecce but a 2-1 defeat away to Spezia last Friday sees the Nerazzurri struggle for momentum as they head into the second leg. Inzaghi will be concerned by his team’s away form heading into this one, failing to win any of their last three games on the road.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Porto 0-0 Inter @ 9/1 We’re expecting a close encounter once more between Porto and Inter and the Dragons will struggle without Otavio in their lineup. Taremi will offer the biggest outlet up top for the hosts but Inter will be cautious in their approach and will likely try to emulate Milan’s performance in their second leg away at Tottenham.
Marko Grujic To Be Carded @ 11/5 Porto have been struggling of late to keep their cool on the pitch and so we can see the ill-discipline continue here in a must-win game. Grujic has been booked in his last two matches for Porto and he looks good value to continue that trend here.
Marcelo Brozovic To Commit 2+ Fouls @ 6/4 Brozovic has started to increase his game time once more as the Croatian slowly establishes himself back in the side. With Inter already having the lead in this one, we think Inzaghi will select him in the midfield to try and shore up the defence. The 30-year-old committed two fouls away at Spezia last Friday and has also recorded a total of six fouls in his last three starts.
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