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Maccabi Tel-Aviv v Porto: Portuguese giants seek to extend Group G lead

Porto have the chance to strengthen their grip on top spot in Group G of the Champions League as the Portuguese giants close in on the knockout rounds.

Julen Lopetegui’s Porto travel to winless Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Wednesday, with the Portuguese powerhouse two points clear at the top of the standings heading into matchday four.

Porto are two points ahead of Dynamo Kiev thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Maccabi in their most recent European fixture last month.

However, the two-time Champions League winners come into the clash at Sammy Ofer Stadium somewhat rusty after failing to take to the field over the weekend.

Porto’s Primeira Liga fixture against Uniao Madeira on Saturday was postponed due to poor weather.

“It’s a shame not to play … but we must adapt ourselves to the circumstances,” said Lopetegui, who is expected to be without Yacine Brahimi for the trip due to a hamstring injury.

“We have focused on Maccabi, a good team, [they are] strong playing at home.”

Tel-Aviv will be looking to take advantage of Porto’s quiet weekend as they prepare to welcome the group pacesetters to Israel.

The domestic champions are yet to win a game in the continental competition, following defeats to Porto, Kiev (2-0) and Chelsea (4-0), while they are still searching for their first goal.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s men, though, have been boosted by a 1-0 derby win at Hapoel Tel-Aviv on Saturday.

“Having some big teams coming to Israel is a great feeling and the fans enjoy it as well during the days leading up to the match and the game itself,” said midfielder Avi Rikan via Maccabi’s official website.

“We didn’t play poorly last Champions League match and we were kind of shell shocked the first couple of games but we have started to play better and we have three games left with the first coming up on Wednesday.”

Maccabi team-mate Gili Vermouth added: “We have to be more daring. We have to play to score and win the game. It’s possible.”

Mon 2 Nov, 2015
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