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  • 29 November 2023

Barcelona vs Porto: Can Barcelona Maintain Their Momentum Today?

Barcelona was recently beaten in La Liga by Rayo Vallecano, which cost them precious points. Now, they are looking back on the Champions League. Having lost 1-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg, they will need to work hard if they are to make the cut of top sixteen teams in the Champions League knockout stages.

Barcelona will play their next opponents, Porto, a team from Portugal, who will be their opponents for a match that kicks off at 9 pm CET on Tuesday at the Estadi Olímpic. The situation seems straightforward: if Barcelona wins this game, they will most probably progress to the next stage as the leaders of Group H, but this is not certain.

Therefore, a draw in this match will most likely be sufficient for Barcelona, with the exception of a few surprises that would have occurred earlier on the same tuesday, with regard to the game between Shakhtar and Antwerp. A victory in a final tie against Belgium will ensure Barcelona’s qualification even if it loses once.

While Barcelona has an advantageous position, they definitely would like to settle this issue early and do not want to experience any surprises on December 13. They do not want another opportunity slip to them as they missed the last two seasons.

Porto’s Form

It is not very simple to beat Porto who won the tournament in 1987 and 2004. Porto were tough for Barcelona to play against during the last encounter in October; they believed that one goal scored just before the end of first half was enough for a loss; particularly, Ferran Torres scored for Barcelona. Porto won all other group matches and they had been enjoying impressive performance in the domestic league – the Primeira Liga – until a home defeat to Estoril moved them to third place, behind Benfica and Sporting.

Last weekend, the Primeira Liga went on a break for Cup games. On this same week, Porto easily won the fourth round of this tournament by beating the third-tier team Montalegre 4–0.

Latest news and updates

Captain Sergi Roberto who has been training all week long is finally back in the team updates for the first time this week. Nonetheless, goalscorer Ter Stegen who failed to appear in the Rayo match owing to back pain is yet to recover. Therefore, the goalkeeper Iñaki Peña will have to play another time. In addition, Gavi is also still unavailable following a long-term injury he suffered from while on duty with the Spanish national team.

Several players will be missing when Porto steps into this match. Therefore, David Carmo is suspended as well as Iván Jaime from Spain, Wendell and Gabriel Veron of Brazil and Samuel Portugal, a reserve goalkeeper. Notwithstanding these absent players, Porto is sending a very strong team to play against Barcelona in Catalan capital.

Interesting facts:

  • One of the squads boasts the upcoming talent of Nico González who comes from Galicia. In July, he was moved from Barcelona to Porto.
  • In this competition, Barcelona will be meeting Porto for the fifth time in this match. Barcelona has done this in every prior head-to-head contests. Porto failed to score in the last three of such games.
  • Barcelona is undefeated in all of its home games played with Portuguese clubs in the Champion’s league. Yet, they have drawn a few times with Benfica.

Expert views:

According to Xavi, Barcelona’s coach, they needed to create another ‘magic night’ in Europe for their upcoming game. Thus, he insisted that the team should play like a “competitive beast” with the vigor and intensity. This indicates that he is concentrating on channeling the team’s power and dedication towards achieving a critical victory.

As Joao Cancelo explained prior to the game, confronting a Portuguese team, such as Porto, is always a unique situation for him. Being a player from Benfica, he admits that the rivalry with Porto acts as a motivation. However, he stressed that he is not focusing completely on the match from this perspective only. He does not apply this competitive sentiment typical for such meetings but applies a different attitude to the game.

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