Porto host Inter Milan at Estádio Do Dragão on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg. The Nerazzurri took a slender 1-0 lead in the first leg against ten men and are looking to reach their first quarter-final in 12 seasons. The Dragons are looking to reach the last eight for the third time in five seasons.
The hosts went into the first leg on a 22-match unbeaten streak after a 1-0 loss to rivals Benfica back in October. They won their final four group matches to reach this stage in first place and went to the San Siro on an eight-match winning streak with one goal conceded.
The Dragons went down to ten men after 78 minutes in the first leg at 0-0. After the red card, Inter had all eight shots and eventually got a winner in the 86th minute. Another loss followed, 2-1 at home to Gil Vicente in the Premeira Liga. Although they’ve since bounced back with successive league wins, they’re still eight points off Benfica in the table.
Porto Team News
Coach Sergio Conceicao is without key midfielder Otavio due to suspension. The Portugal international is a big loss and Englishman Danny Loader could be a surprise starter in the number ten role having played over the weekend.
Key players Mateus Uribe and Mehdi Taremi both had partial rests in the last match against Estoril and will return. Striker Toni Martinez is set to drop to the bench with Taremi playing alone up front.
Motivation for this match will be super high. Porto are desperate to progress and will play at a high intensity and with a lot of aggression in front of their vocal fans.
Conceicao’s team can’t overcommit and know they need to score the first goal in the match. Should they be losing on aggregate with 30 minutes to go, expect extra forwards to be thrown on whilst some Porto players could lose their composure.
Inter MIlan Form
Inter sit second in Serie A despite having dropped points in four of their last eight matches. They went into the first leg having seen just one loss in 11 since the resumption, including winning silverware by beating AC Milan 3-0 in the Italian Super Cup. Their only loss before facing Porto was a home 1-0 upset against Empoli, largely due to playing with ten men.
After again playing with a man advantage in the first leg, sub Romelu Lukaku got a late winner and Inter tried hard to push for a second. They’ve taken their eye off the ball somewhat since then, first losing 1-0 at Bologna and then seeing a 2-1 loss at Spezia over the weekend. They produced 3.87 xG in the match and conceded a late penalty to lose.
Inter Team News
Marcelo Brozovic is expected to be in the starting XI after some games on the bench of late with doubts over his future. Milan Skriniar is a doubt after missing the loss at Spezia, but he should also be fit to start.
Up top, Romelu Lukaku has three goals in his last five matches including two penalties and the winner in the first leg. He should get the starting nod over Edin Dzeko, whilst Joaquin Correa is doubtful. Veteran Danilo D’Ambrosio could get the nod at right wingback over Denzel Dumfries, who has lost his starting spot of late.
Inter Milan Motivation
Inter know a draw gets them through and they won’t risk losing this match by opening up. Simone Inzaghi will look to see off the opening 20 minutes and try to nick the first goal in this one.
Conceding first opens up the tie and Internazionale may not know how to shift gears from defensive mode to trying to score.
Porto have lost 4 of their last 7 home matches in the UCL
7 of Porto’s last 11 home UCL matches have seen just one side on target
Porto’s last 2 home matches vs Inter have seen 1 draw and 1 win
Inter’s Lukaku has 3 goals in his last 5 appearances
Inter have lost just 1 of their last 6 matches in this competition (4 wins to nil) Inter have seen Both Teams to Score NO in 4 of their last 5 away matches in this competition
This match is tough to predict, but there are decent odds for Porto in this one. 1-0 is not impossible to turn around, even without key man Otavio. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this goes to extra time.