Saturday, April 29, 2017

Prediction: FC Porto vs Juventus


Verdict: Juventus -0.25 Asian handicap

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: bet365

Portuguese giants FC Porto face a tough task in the Champions League first knockout stage as they will be up against Italian champions Juventus, who are not only in excellent form at the moment, but are also hungry for European glory.

FC Porto

FC Porto have been regular in the Champions League knockout stages ever since the new format of the competition debuted in early 90’s, and they have so far made one semi-final appearance, while reaching the last 8 on five separate occasions. The Dragons do not exactly harbour title ambitions this season, but they will obviously give their best to go as far as possible and hopefully claim some major scalps in the process. FC Porto successfully negotiated the group stage, but finished behind Premier League champions Leicester City in spite of the 5-0 triumph in the final round of fixtures, and they were subsequently pitted against the Italian champions. The good news is that the Dragons are on top of their game at the moment, with January recruit Tiquinho quickly proving his worth and forcing head coach Nuno Espirito Santo to alter his standard 4-3-3 formation and switch to 4-1-3-2. This way, talented forward Andre Silva has kept his place in the side, and it is the duo that is expected to cause problems for Juventus defenders with a little help from attack-minded midfielders Jesus Corona, Oliver Torres and Yacine Brahimi. The Dragons have done pretty well in previous Champions League encounters at Estadio do Dragao, winning nine of last 13 games there (D3 L1).

Team News

Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has absolutely no selection worries at the moment, but he is set to recall Danilo Perreira, Yacine Brahimi and Oliver Torres.

Juventus

Juventus have been largely dominating Italian football over the past five or six years, but the Bianconeri are still craving for their third title in Europe’s elite competition. It’s now been 21 years since the Old Lady defeated Ajax on penalties in the 1995/96 final, although they did come close to ending the barren run two years ago when Barcelona defeated them in the final. Having added Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic to their ranks among others, Juventus hope to mount another serious title challenge this season and FC Porto is the next obstacle on the road. Just like their next opponents, the Bianconeri head into the game in excellent spirits, having won last seven matches in all competitions, conceding mere two goals in the process. When it comes to their recent Champions League fixtures, Juventus came through the group stage unbeaten, and while they twice shared the spoils at home, the Turin outfit won each of their three away fixtures, which gives them confidence ahead of the trip to Estadio do Dragao.

Team News

Stephan Lichtsteiner has been added to the Champions League list and he looks set to start ahead of Dani Alves on the right flank.

Giorgio Chiellini faces a fitness test as he battles a muscle problem, while Andrea Barzagli appears to have recovered from injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • FC Porto won 9 of last 13 UCL games at home (D3 L1)
  • Juventus have win and a draw in two meetings with the Dragons
  • The Bianconeri won their last three Champions League games on the road
  • Juventus won last seven matches, conceding two goals
  • FC Porto recorded six straight victories in all competitions

Conclusion

FC Porto boast a very talented squad that have done really well of late, but defeating in-form Juventus side, packed with seasoned world-class players could prove a very difficult task. We do expect the hosts to give the Bianconeri a run for their money, but are backing the visitors to make an important step towards the next stage.

Verdict: Juventus -0.25 Asian handicap

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: bet365

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