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Rating Porto's 'catch up' chances vs Benfica

Benfica vs Porto: Rating the Dragons' 'catch up' chances in O Classico in Lisbon

August 23, 2019 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
Porto is already three points behind Benfica and, although it’s only Matchday 2, Saturday's clash could have a huge psychological impact on both teams.

Saturday's O Clasico, just like any other since time immemorial, will retain its elegance, suspense and intensity considering how things ended last season. The matchup between Benfica and FC Porto transcends one whose outcome is solely as a result of one side's superiority in terms of tactics or a functional game plan and a host of matches between the pair in recent times affirms the assertion to the fault.

In last season's first round meeting between the pair, it was the Dragons who ended the proceeding with a better ball possession, the most number of shots, while dominating in other aspects of the encounter. Nonetheless, Haris Seferovic's strike was evidently enough to condemn Sergio Conceicao's men to a narrow defeat at the Estadio de Luz. The script of the second round encounter was barely different with goals by Joao Felix and Rafa completing a comeback win for Benfica after Adrian Lopez had opened the scoring in the first half for Porto in their own backyard.

Just as the cliche goes, the end justifies the means and after the two clubs flexed their muscles in a two-horse race for the Primeira Liga, it was Benfica that eventually came out on top to clinch its 37th title. As far as psychological edge goes, the back-to-back wins for the ref faction was a crucial factor in its charge to supremacy. Ahead of Saturday's blockbuster at the Estadio da Luz, the Eagles will hope to repeat last season's feat especially considering the fact that the Porto has lost one of its two opening league encounters.

The new dawn could also present Sérgio Conceição's men the confidence for revenge and the transcript from past meetings will be the perfect yard stick to aid them hit back. Of the last 17 meetings between them and their rivals from Lisbon in the last six years, seven has ended in victories for the men in blue. There have been five draws and five defeats too. 

In measuring how much of a fortress the Dragao can be at times, Porto had not lost a single game at home against its opponents in Saturday's encounter in the last five years. Away from home Sergio Conceicao side has managed three wins in eight outings across all competitions in the same period of time.

All in all, the margin for error is none and while neutrals are anticipating another bout that could drag on till the very final day in the title chase, the fate of the two Portuguese clubs in the domestic league could be shaped by the outcome of the upcoming encounter.

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