Porto vs Juventus Betting Tip, Preview & Champions League Predictions
FC Porto takes on Juventus in the first leg of their 2016-17 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 battle. Porto have not beaten “The Old Lady” in three previous attempts as they prepare to host the Italian giants with certain hopes for something different. Round one of scuffle between Porto and Juventus is set to take place at the “Estádio Do Dragão” in Porto, whilst the “Juventus Stadium” will stage the second leg three weeks later – on 14 March.
H2H Stats: FC Porto vs Juventus FC Porto and Juventus already share common history and although their head-to-head record is not that big, all matches have been played on main stage of European football. Starting with a final match of the 1984 European Cup Winners’ Cup when Italians were the winners at the “St. Jakob Stadium” in Basel. Giovanni Trapattoni’s men won 2-1 and lifted the Cup after goals by Beniamino Vignola and Zbigniew Boniek, thus inspiring Juve’s first ever Champions League trophy one year later.
Porto had a double attempt to take their revenge for the lost final in middle 80’s when “Dragons” and Juventus were drawn together in the 2001–02 UEFA Champions League group stage. Both sides were in Group E alongside Celtic and Rosenborg whose competition was successfully overcome by Juventus and Porto.
Porto and Juventus met twice in short period of time – respectively in matchdays 3 and 5. This suggests two encounters in space of two weeks which were played in October 2001. The Portuguese were once again hosts of first match at the old “Estádio das Antas” that came with greater importance, since both sides failed to win in previous round. Match in Porto ended without goals and this definitely aroused bigger expectations for round two of the clash.
Two weeks later, 23 October 2001, Juventus won 3-1 at the “Stadio delle Alpi” in Turin. Clayton opened the score for Porto but Alessandro Del Piero, Paolo Montero and David Trezeguet found there names on the score sheet, which has secured first position in the group for Juventus.
Champions League: FC Porto vs Juventus 22.02.2017
More than 15 years after their Champions League group phase tie, Porto welcomes Juventus in the knockout phase. Stake is obviously higher and these two games can be considered as an excellent test about which team is more prepared to challenge major favourites in the quarter-finals.
Porto and Juventus played their domestic league games on Friday night when both sides enjoyed to a successful beginning of the weekend.
Hosts from Portugal stayed at home where Nuno Espírito Santo’s men had a walk over last-placed Tondela. FC Porto’s 4-0 victory was first match from round 22 of the Primeira Liga and the three points have moved them on top of the table, on two points ahead rivals Benfica. Well, at least for a period of around 48 hours until Benfica’s visit to Sporting Braga on Sunday night. This is one of the grounds where big three in Portuguese football can drop points, so Porto surely believes Braga can do them a favour.
After winning against Tondela, FC Porto renews its Champions League campaign boosted by six consecutive domestic wins. In that number we find some strong results like a home win in derby vs Sporting CP, as well as an away win over a tricky opposition like Vitória Guimarães.
Juventus heads to Portugal after really convincing domestic run of seven wins in a row. This secures enough composure on the Serie A front where Massimiliano Allegri’s men are marching towards sixth successive Scudetto, unless something extraordinarily happens. “The Old Lady” collects 63 points out of 25 games and holds a ten-point lead over runner-up Roma. Of course, stats are after a 4-1 win vs Palermo on Friday night, but Roma hosts to Juve’s Turin rivals on Sunday night. So “The Giallorossi” can reduce gap back to “just” seven points only if they win against Torino.
Napoli also waits for a wrong step by the Romans but the Southerners are on even greater distance behind Juve.
Apart from a strong Serie A record, “The Bianconeri” won all three away games in Group H of the Champions League. Surprisingly or not, Juventus have shown much better form on the road by winning 9 out of 9, while “Bianconeri” achieved a win and two draws in their games at the “Juventus Stadium”. In contrast to their European performance, Massimiliano Allegri’s men are flawless in the Serie A with 13 wins in 13 home games. In the meantime Juventus lost 4 times in 12 away games which are all their slips in the Calcio, where reigning champions have 21 wins and 4 defeats in general.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Porto hints for having a really determined defensive formation built by a stable quartet in front of Iker Casillas. Nuno Espírito Santo hopes his defenders will be on level and he pretty much relies on saves of his proven goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Porto’s manager was a goalkeeper himself and he realizes how important presence of Casillas can be, as he proved its worth in derby against Sporting. Especially when he made another crucial save in closing seconds of the game.
But to outwit “The Old Lady” in a personal duel with Massimiliano Allegri, Porto’s boss must rely on efficiency by his attackers. Except names of top scorers Diogo Jota and Andre Silva, “Dragons” unleash fire with a winter transfer of Francisco Soares. Brazilian forward arrived from Vitória Guimarães and he didn’t need much time to leave his own impact. Soares can already boast with 4 goals in 3 PL games including both goals for a 2-1 success vs Sporting CP, which was his debut. Remarkable first weeks for the 26-year-old attacker who can claim starting position against Juventus and we expect Soares alongside Andre Silva, while Diogo Jota can play role of effective substitution if necessary. Like he did during both victories last week, when he came as a substitution and ended its goal drought.
Fact that Nuno Espírito Santo has no injury concerns and can use his best starting XI allowed him making some replacements in midfield. Porto’s coach decided to rest few key players against Tondela. Mexican captain Hector Herrera, Yacine Brahimi and crucial anchor man Danilo Pereira were not in Porto’s lineup and we expect them back against Juventus. Perhaps biggest question of the “Dragons” is related with a position of left midfielder where Yacine Brahimi and Otavio have their own football arguments to play from the outset.
Juventus didn’t had any big issues when Paulo Dybala netted a brace to his former club Palermo last Friday night. The Argentine does his best to regain his best form and he definitely shows consistency in the past few weeks. Dybala is one of the players who are expected to lead Juventus and “La Joya” will be under the spotlights.
Others who scored in the 4-1 win against struggling Palermo are Dybala’s compatriot and record signing in Italian football Gonzalo Higuaín, as well as Claudio Marchisio, who opened the score. Both are expected to feature on Wednesday and to play key role in Juve’s Champions League expansion.
Changes are very likely in the attacking formation of Juventus. Mario Mandzukic should return for Italian champions as the Croat had to serve its suspension in Serie A. His presence may cause some rotations in the team and Stefano Sturaro may remain on the bench, since Marchisio and Sami Khedira look rock-solid in midfield. If we assume Allegri will use same 4-2-3-1 formation and if we compare all lines against Palermo with the estimated best XI Juventus can name vs Porto. Under these circumstances Juan Cuadrado is also expected to return in the squad at the expense of Marko Pjaca, who started as a right winger vs Palermo.
And if Massimiliano Allegri has no worries in midfield and up front, where all players are fiercely competing, Italian coach prays for condition of Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. Both experienced defenders suffer from different injuries and they have missed games last week. Chiellini and Barzagli are also doubts for travelling to Portugal and Allegri hopes they will recover on time, or at least one of them. Otherwise Juve’s boss should choose someone between Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani for a centre-back partner of Leonardo Bonucci.
Matchday update, 22.02.2017: Latest news suggest that Leonardo Bonucci will watch the game from the stands, although he arrived in Porto. Bonucci had a bust-up with Max Allegri last weekend and this causes a disciplinary action by Juve’s boss.
Dani Alves recorded his first 90 minutes since November and Brazilian right-back competes for a starting spot with Stephan Lichtsteiner. The Swiss defender was initially left out from the submitted Champions League squad list but Allegri shows intention to use him in the elimination phase.
Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
FC Porto faces against history and seeks first victory over Juventus. Hosts can count on their own crowd and this will be a huge boost for players who don’t have such an experience.
“Dragons” already eliminated another Italian side this season when they met Roma in the playoffs. First match in Porto ended without a winner but surprisingly Nuno Espírito Santo’s men accomplished a massive success in the Italian capital, winning 0-3 over nine-man Roma.
FC Porto are unbeaten in their last seven home encounters (3 wins, 4 draws) with clubs from Italy. Now “Dragons” are keen to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the sixth time and if they want to maintain reliable chances before second match in Turin, they should take a good score in the first leg.
On other hand Juventus won’t mind even if match ends with a draw, which doesn’t mean they won’t try winning in Portugal. However, we don’t expect the most attacking approach by “The Bianconeri” and they will surely be more catious in that game, especially if Chiellini and Barzagli miss out.
Juventus lost in 4 of its 11 games against Portuguese sides but all defeats came from Benfica. Now they won’t face Benfica, but nonetheless, we don’t expect any signs of underestimation here.
It’s difficult to predict the eventual winner in first Champions League 1/8 final leg meeting two teams that find themselves in superb form, so we recommend another betting market. Our betting prediction on match between FC Porto and Juventus backs the scoring abilities of both sides – “Both teams to score: Yes“. Odds are fine and since first round is in Portugal, it makes our anticipation bigger and the bet even worthier.
Venue: “Estádio Do Dragão”, Porto.
Referee: Felix Brych from Germany.
Possible Lineups of FC Porto and Juventus
FC Porto: Iker Casillas – Alex Telles, Ivan Marcano, Felipe, Maxi Pereira – Danilo Pereira – Yacine Brahimi, Hector Herrera, Jesus Corona – Francisco Soares, Andre Silva. (4-1-3-2)
Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon – Alex Sandro, Medhi Benatia, Daniele Rugani, Stephan Lichtsteiner – Claudio Marchisio, Sami Khedira – Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado – Gonzalo Higuain. (4-2-3-1)