Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Champions League Group A preview: Porto eye progression

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 5 Nov 2012

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A point will be enough to seal Porto’s passage out of the group stage when they take on Dynamo Kyiv at the Stadion Maksimir on Tuesday.

The Portuguese league leaders are yet to beaten in any competition this season and will head into the game full of confidence after demolishing Maritimo 5-0 in the Primera Liga on Friday in a game that saw Jackson Martinez and James Rodriquez each score a double.

The Colombian pair have scored 13 goals between them this season and Kyiv will be hard-pressed to stem their goal-scoring tide.

The Ukrainian outfit is all too aware of the danger Martinez poses with the 26-year-old scoring two memorable goals in Porto’s 3-2 victory over Dynamo at the Estadio do Dragao on matchday three.

However, the away side may be without first-choice left back Alex Sandro with the Brazilian still recovering from a thigh injury he received in early October against Sporting Lisbon.

Kyiv will be hoping to collect maximum points from the home tie in order to keep pace with second-placed Paris St Germain.

Oleh Blokhin’s men are three points behind the French side after enjoying just one win so far, a 2-0 result over Dinamo Zagreb on matchday two.

The Ukrainian side, who finished runners up in the Ukrainian Premier League last season, snapped a five-game winless streak on the weekend with a 2-0 win over Tavriya but will face a much tougher task against a rampant Porto side.

In the group’s other game, PSG will face Dinamo Zagreb in their home return leg after comfortably overcoming the Croatian team 2-0 on matchday three.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side are on top of Ligue 1 after a blistering start to the season but suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat to St Etienne on the weekend in a game which saw star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off and they will be hoping to bounce back against Dinamo.

Nothing less than a win will suffice for Ante Cacic’s men after they failed to pick up a single point from their opening three group stage games.

History is against the Croatian champions with Dinamo only recording one victory in seven visits to France with their solitary win coming over 20 years ago.

The away side’s task will be made even harder with hardly any support coming from the stands after Dinamo fans were banned from travelling to Paris by the French interior ministry due to concerns over crowd violence.

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