FC Porto hosts Lazio in the first leg of the Europa League 1/16 finals. The match will be played on Thursday, February 17th at Estádio do Dragão (Porto)
FC Porto played in the group stage of the Champions League. The team finished in third place, ahead of AC Milan and behind Liverpool and Atletico Madrid. The Dragons earned only five points in six games. All their results in the Champions League group were as follows: one victory, two draws, and three defeats with a goal difference of 4-11. FC Porto last played in the Europa League in 2020. Then the Blue-Whites reached the 1/16 finals, where they lost to Bayer Leverkusen on aggregate (2-5). In the last 11 games in the Europa League, the Portuguese team has never kept a clean sheet. Ten previous home matches in this tournament ended like this: five victories, two draws, and four defeats.
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In autumn, Lazio played in the group stage of the Europa League. Sarri’s men took second place, scoring nine points in six matches. Only Galatasaray finished higher with 12 points. Seven of the eight previous games of the Eagles in the Europa League ended with ‘Both teams to score — no.’ Their away performances in this tournament leave much to be desired. In the previous eight games, they gained only one victory and one draw and suffered as many as six defeats. Five of those eight matches ended with ‘Both teams to score — no.’ On February 9, Maurizio Sarri’s men played against AC Milan in the Italian Cup and suffered a 4-0 romp. But three days later, they confidently dealt with Bologna in Serie A (3-0).
FC Porto will probably act from a position of strength. And the Romans will have the opportunity to play in their favorite style, using counterattacks. Still, I believe more in the success of the Dragons. It’s not only about the home stadium. In my opinion, FC Porto is a team of a higher level. And the Dragons have a more serious European competition experience than the Romans, who have begun to consistently perform in such tournaments only in recent years.