Preview: Porto has it all to do if they want to progress, against a very strong Atletico side
It is not often that Porto finds themselves in this type of situation, but on Wednesday night, they will need two positive results.
First, they will need to defeat Atletico Madrid, who has yet to lose in the group stage. With four victories and one draw, the Spanish side find themselves into the next round, having claimed 13 points already. Adding to their outstanding record, Simeone's squad has scored 13 goals, while only conceding three.
So apart from that much needed victory for Porto, they will also need Austria Wien to lend them a helping hand against Zenit St. Petersburg.
Preview: This match will be all or nothing for both sides
Mathematically, both these sides can go through to the next round of the Champions League. For Austria Wien, the math does get a little more complicated, but nonetheless, they still have a chance.
For Porto, they are currently third in Group G, but only trail second placed Zenit St. Petersburg by one point. When they take the field at the Estádio do Dragão on Tuesday evening, both teams will already know the final result between Zenit and Atletico Madrid, who will play earlier in the day.
Preview: With Witsel back, Zenit looks to distance themselves from Porto
Currently second in their group with just four points from three matches, Zenit St. Petersburg has a chance to put some distance between themselves and Porto. A match in Russia after a slender 0-1 victory at the Estádio do Dragão should give Spalletti's squad a good chance of earning points.
Due to Zenit's appeal of Axel Witsel's two match suspension, UEFA has changed the suspension to one match, which will now allow him to play on Wednesday. The Belgian's presence in the midfield will be felt, especially considering his knowledge of the visitors from his time in the Portuguese League.
Preview: Zenit has little margin for error on Tuesday night
From their two group matches, Zenit has not been all that impressive. A 3-1 defeat at the Vicente Calderon against Atletico Madrid was followed up by a scoreless draw at home against Austria Vienna. And although Zenit looked good through spells of their last match, they were unable to put the ball in the net, which is the most important part of the game.
On Tuesday night, Hulk and Danny will return to a familiar stadium. It would also have been a familiar return for Axel Witsel who spent some time with Benfica, but the Belgian international will be suspended for this match.
Preview: Both sides are looking to stay perfect in Group G
Porto will play host to Atlético Madrid on Tuesday, with both sides coming off domestic victories at the weekend. As for their involvement in this season's UEFA Champions League, both sides won their opening match, setting up an entertaining match at the Estádio do Dragão.
For the Portuguese champions, their European campaign started off with a 0-1 victory over Austria Vienna at the Ernst Happen Stadion. Captain Lucho Gonzalez came through with an important strike to give the Dragões the full three points.
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Preview: Paulo Fonseca's first match in charge could end with a title
Even after claiming a second consecutive Portuguese League title last season, Porto parted ways with Vítor Pereira. It had been rumored for quite some time that the Portuguese manager would move on from the club, but that finally became official when former Paços de Ferreira manager Paulo Fonseca was appointed as the new leader of the Dragões.
Fonseca has had his fair share of pre-season matches to not only get acquainted with his new players, but he also had a chance to get used to the daily pressures of managing a top club in Portugal.
Preview: Gala's defensive frailties will once again be put to the test on Saturday
After signing Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder last season, Galatasaray's run through Europe was quite impressive, and exciting to say the least. Watching their fans enjoy every second of the match was a sight to see.
On Saturday, the Turkish fans will get to witness an entertaining match, between two sides trying to sort out their weaknesses before domestic football begins in the coming weeks.
Over the last 20 years, Porto has done an incredible job not only from a titles aspect, but their ability to sell players for big money has become somewhat of a trademark for them. They not only have helped market and evolve players, but their manager's have also benefited from their time at Porto.
As a Portuguese Football fan, when you think of Porto, given their track record as of late, you think of titles. It goes without saying that they have essentially dominated the Portuguese League, after Benfica enjoyed a similar spell of dominance.
Pinto da Costa and his staff will now prepare themselves, and hope that they made the right decision in signing 40-year-old Paulo Fonseca.
Miami Beach, Florida (May 18, 2013) – FC Porto and Benfica are in a fierce contest to win the 2012/13 Portuguese Primeira Liga title. Only one of these two teams will be crowned champions when the final whistle blows all over Portugal this Sunday. At exactly 13:30 EST / 17:30 GMT / 19:30 CET, all eight final fixtures will kick off.
Paços de Ferreira vs Porto and Benfica vs Moreirense are the two encounters that will dominate viewership. Live Soccer TV reminds viewers in the United States to watch both fixtures on ESPN3 this Sunday. In addition to going live on ESPN3 in USA, the Pacos de Ferreira vs Porto match will also enjoy live broadcast on RTP Internacional and Sport TV Americas in Canada.
Paços de Ferreira fans have enjoyed the most successful season in their club's history. On Sunday, a week after claiming a spot in the qualification round of the Champions League next season, Paços will get a chance to spoil the anticipated title party for Porto.
A last minute victory over Benfica on Saturday will not only have the Porto players full of confidence, but they now only depend on themselves to reclaim the title. Is Vítor Pereira's side going to be able to handle the euphoria heading into the Mata Real, or will this season's surprise team make things interesting?
We will take a look at their previous meetings and any potential patterns that could have any influence on the match come Sunday afternoon.
Miami Beach, Florida (May 10, 2013) – All eight matches from the Portuguese Primeira Liga are scheduled to take place on Saturday May 11, 2013. One fixture, in particular, will captivate the public: Porto vs Benfica
It is Portugal’s very own version of El Clasico in Spain, called 'O Classico'. Millions of football fans around the globe are looking to catch every second of this weekend’s match. LiveSoccerTV.com (@LiveSoccerTV) can feed you with info on where to watch Porto vs Benfica live at 15:30 EST / 19:30 GMT / 21:30 CET on Saturday.
Since Monday’s 1-1 draw at home to Estoril, the Portuguese Primeira Liga title is not Benfica’s to lose anymore. The Lisbon-based giants are indeed above any other team on the league table. However, the two-point gap between the first and second spots means that the Dragons of Porto can bring down the flying Eagles of Benfica this Saturday.
As a fan, what more could you ask for than the possibility of being able to claim the league title against your rival? While it may sound appealing and exciting, it could also end up being a complete disappointment. On Saturday, Benfica and Porto will both be out to give their fans something to smile about, as they will go head to head in what will be the title match.
Playing in their 79th league meeting in the city of Porto, the visitors do not have the greatest record on their rivals home ground, but all of that will not matter, given the circumstances.
From their 78 meetings in the league, Benfica has only managed to defeat Porto at the Estádio do Dragão or Estádio das Antas on 12 occasions. That is approximately 15% of their league meetings. As for the hosts, they have managed an incredible 47 victories, amounting to approximately 60%, with the other 19 matches ending in a draw.
A promising four point lead at the top of the Portuguese League had Benfica fans and their players feeling extremely confident. All of that confidence has quickly turned into some doubt after a heroic performance from Estoril on Monday night, which earned them a one goal draw at the Estádio da Luz.
Now, Benfica needs to regroup and put together one of their most important performances of the whole season.
Facing humiliation should be more than enough to get the players prepared for this match from a mental perspective. But, if that will not do it, then maybe the fact that they have a chance to claim the Portuguese title at their rivals stadium will do the trick.
Being able to get revenge after the Porto players celebrated in Lisbon just two years ago would be ideal for the Benfica players and fans, but in order to that, the visitors will need a special performance from everyone involved.
With pride, bragging rights and the Portuguese League title on the line, Saturday's match should bring out the best in all of its participants. No player on that pitch should have any reason to not be motivated and ready to go when the first whistle is blown.
Keeping their emotions in check will be slightly difficult for some, but all the world class players are used to this pressure and these types of matches. Porto will be playing to not only take a massive step towards reclaiming the Portuguese title, but they will also not want to watch Benfica celebrate the Portuguese title at their stadium.
Who will give Porto that edge in Saturday's match?
"We are in first place, and we are going to Porto and will be champions." These are the words of Benfica's Maxi Pereira, who showed his confidence after Benfica failed to defeat Estoril at the Estádio da Luz on Monday night. If drawing against Estoril at home was not bad enough, the Águias will now play at the Estádio do Dragão on Saturday with a slim two point lead.
Even if Benfica went into this match with a four point lead, this rivalry is much more than just a title match. Neither team wants to lose to their biggest rival, especially when they both have the possibility of claiming a domestic title.
I'm not exactly sure anyone could have scripted this finish any better.
Vitor Pereira's side is still chasing Benfica in the top spot of the Portuguese League, making their four point deficit even more difficult to overcome. But, regardless of how many matches remain, the Porto players will know that their is still a lot at stake, and anything is possible.
Getting one step closer to making up ground will have to start on Saturday night when Porto travels to Moreira de Conegos to take on Moreirense.
The hosts are 15th in the Portuguese League with just 21 points, but at this stage of the campaign, they too can not afford to lose points as they are currently sitting in the relegation zone. With both sides very interested in the full three points for different reasons, this match could be more interesting to watch than some would expect.
Going into every season, Porto and Benfica are without a doubt title contenders before they even set foot on the pitch for their first official match. From the mass amounts of support off the pitch, to the well known players they are able to bring into the squad, these two Portuguese giants are not only battling it out now, but they have done so for years.
The Lisbon side still holds the record number of Portuguese League titles with 32, but during the Pinto da Costa regime, Porto has done a good job in closing the gap. 26 league titles for the Dragoes may seem dull compared to Benfica's 32, but make no mistake about it, Porto has very well dominated the domestic league for quite sometime.
Since taking over as the Porto manager with the departure of Andre Villas-Boas, Vitor Pereira has claimed three pieces of silverware for the Dragoes. Two Portuguese Supercup's and the league title last season, but having dropped two more points against Maritimo last night, it looks as if Porto fans have had it with the Portuguese manager.
In his first stint at the top level in Portugal, one would have to agree that he has not done all that bad. His first season in charge at the Estadio do Dragao was welcomed by the Portuguese League title, so it is difficult to understand such frustration at times from the Porto fans.
Last season he won the Portuguese title with a six point cushion over Benfica, having won 23 matches, drawn six and losing only one. This season he has 17 victories, six draws and zero losses with seven matches remaining, so he could well match his numbers from last season, so why all the panic?
For years and years, Benfica fans go into every new season hoping to come out on top, but unfortunately, that has not happened all that often in recent times. With just seven matches remaining, the Aguias have a four point lead, but cannot get too complacent.
With Benfica and Porto battling it out for the top spot since the first weeks of the 2012/13 campaign, the current Portuguese Champions have had two slip-ups in recent weeks, allowing Benfica to distance themselves.
Although their lead is at four, should Benfica fans be all that confident that the title is within reaching distance?