Reigning Portuguese champions Porto host Manchester City in a Champions League group stage match on Tuesday evening.
Porto’s only European defeat of the season came at the hands of City in their opening fixture despite the fact that they took an early lead. The Dragons sit second in the group, three points behind City, and need to beat Pep Guardiola’s side by a larger margin than the 3-1 reverse they suffered to displace the Premier League side atop the standings.
City are yet to concede a single goal in the competition since Porto’s Luis Diaz netted in the opening quarter of an hour back October. With qualification to the last 16 already assured, City could wrap up top spot with a point or more on Tuesday.
When Is Kick Off? Tuesday 1 December
What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Estadio do Dragao
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport 3 (UK), CBS (US)
Referee? Bjorn Kuipers
Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic will be suspended for Tuesday’s fixture after getting sent off against Marseille last time out. Porto centre-back Pepe may not be able to rekindle the heated exchange he had with Raheem Sterling in the reverse fixture after missing the last six matches with a heel injury.
Manchester City may be able to welcome Nathan Ake back into the squad, if not the starting XI, on Tuesday as he returns from training after nursing a hamstring injury since mid-November. Both Sergio Aguero and Aymeric Laporte were left out of the squad which hit five past Burnley on Saturday, though that is thought to be due to squad rotation rather than any new injury concerns.
Porto: Marchesin; Manafa, Mbemba, Sarr, Sanusi; Uribe, Oliveira; Corona, Otavio, Diaz; Marega
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo; Foden, Jesus, Sterling
Porto may have only lost once in the Champions League, but eight games into their domestic campaign and Sergio Conceicao’s side have already registered two defeats – and neither one to the other members of the so-called Os Tres Grandes, The Big Three (Sporting CP, Benfica along with Porto themselves). Although, they have won seven of their last eight matches across all competitions.
Manchester City finally found their shooting boots in the Premier League on the weekend, scoring more than one Premier League goal for the first time in six league matches against Burnley. However, Guardiola’s side haven’t endured quite the same struggles in front of the net on the continent, racking up three goals in all but one of their group stage games so far.
Here’s how each side has fared their last five outings.
Santa Clara 0-1 Porto (28/11)
Marseille 0-2 Porto (25/11)
Fabril Barreiro 0-2 Porto (21/11)
Porto 3-1 Portimonense (8/11)
Porto 3-0 Marseille (3/11)
Manchester City 5-0 Burnley (28/11)
Olympiacos 0-1 Manchester City (25/11)
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City (21/11)
Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool (8/11)
Manchester City 3-0 Olympiacos (3/11)
Porto may come into Tuesday’s match with a mercifully short injury list on the back of five consecutive victories, but the quality of the opposition in that run – including fellow Champions League side Marseille – should temper any hasty and lofty assessments of their recent form.
After a glut of injuries and positive COVID-19 tests to begin the campaign, Manchester City themselves are beginning to bring their full squad, fit and healthy, together.
While a single 5-0 blowout against a side labouring near the relegation zone shouldn’t dismiss the worrisome drop in attacking output City have shown, at least in the Premier League, this season, Guardiola’s side, peppered with a number of rested attacking menaces, should have enough to overcome Porto.
Prediction: Porto 1-3 Manchester City