Inter vs Porto – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Wednesday 22nd February 2023
As part of our Champions League predictions, we take a look at Porto’s visit to the San Siro. Both sides are in form – particularly Porto – does this have the makings of a classic? Read on with our Inter vs Porto Prediction.
Inter vs Porto Match Preview
Inter negotiated a tough-looking Group C, comprising fellow European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Barcelona and minnows Viktoria Plzen. With Barca and Inter beating Plzen twice and losing to Bayern twice, the battle for second place ultimately came down to the games between both. Inter won 1-0 at the San Siro and obtained a crucial thrilling 3-3 draw in Catalonia (though it did take a Barcelona equaliser in stoppage time to deny the Nerazzurri). Therefore, the Italians qualified in second place with a game to spare.
Domestically, things could be better for Inter. They currently trail high-flying Napoli (who also play in the Champions League this week) by a massive 15 points in Serie A. They have won four of their last six games and picked up 13 points across this period, and come into this game having beaten Udinese 3-1 at the weekend. The league looks lost, and their Champions League place for next season could be under threat as only six points separate them from Atalanta in sixth.
Porto eventually topped Group B, but it wasn’t plain sailing. Indeed, the Portuguese club lost their first two games: away in Madrid against Atletico 2-1, and then they were hammered at home in the Dragao 4-0 by Brugge. However, four wins ensued after this, including back-to-back wins over Leverkusen, a vengeful destruction of Brugge in Belgium, and then a home win against Atletico to finish, which confirmed first place given Brugge’s draw in Leverkusen. The draw then placed them against Inter.
Domestically, Porto are still in the hunt to retain the Portuguese title. They sit in second, two points behind bitter rivals Benfica, having played one game more. Their form over the last ten has been exemplary; they have won nine, with the only blip being a draw against Casa Pia. With 25 goals, they are averaging 2.5 goals per game across this period. They narrowly defeated Rio Ave at the weekend and will confidently travel to Milan.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Mkhitaryan
Will Not Play: Dalbert, Correa
Might Not Play: Uribe, Wendell, Otavio, Galeno, Martinez
Will Not Play: Veron, Meixedo, Cardoso, Evanilson
Inter vs Porto Lineups (Predicted)
Inter (3-5-2): Onana; Acerbi, Bastoni, Skriniar; Dimarco, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Barella, Dumfries; Lukaku, Martinez
Porto (4-4-2): Costa; Mario, Pepe, Carmo, Sanusi; Pepe, Eustaquio, Grujic, Franco; Taremi, Namaso
Inter vs Porto Analysis
The midfield battle should be interesting here. Both teams are high up the possession table in their respective leagues, with Inter having, on average, 55 per cent of the ball in Serie A and Porto 58 per cent in Primeira Liga. These stats are lower in their six Champions League games, with Inter having 49 per cent and Porto 46 per cent. Porto have also completed almost 2,000 passes, and Inter nearly 2,500. These stats indicate that the competition level is higher in Europe (especially in Inter’s case playing against the passing carousels of Bayern and Barca).
However, it is apparent that both teams are comfortable retaining the ball. In this match, we expect Porto to see less of the ball as the away team. They may play more on the break than they will in three weeks (depending on the result of this first leg). Therefore, despite Porto’s injury crisis, Eustaquio and Grujic will likely be their usual industrious, tenacious selves in midfield. The wingers (likely Pepe and Franco) will also play a little more narrow without the ball as they attempt to stop Inter from getting into a rhythm.
Inter will play their usual back three, which allows them to use three central midfielders. Brozovic will likely be the metronome in the middle, controlling the play and playing short passes between himself and the energetic, technical Barella and the silky Turk Calhanoglu. Barella and Calhanoglu will play all over the place, expected to control the midfield and break in support of the forwards.
Inter’s Defensive Nature and How they Might Attack
It should be noted that while Serie A has seen more tacking football in recent years, Inter are a relatively defensive team under coach Simone Inzaghi. They have scored 44 goals in 23 games in Serie A, which is respectable but not blowing the opposition away in general. Indeed, their last ten games in the league have only seen them score ten goals. An identical total in the six games in the group stage was decent. However, this tally was generally fattened by the 4-0 win at home to Plzen and the 3-3 draw in Barcelona. They could not lay a glove on Bayern, losing 2-0 home and away.
Hence, we see Inter being quite cautious in this game yet again, prizing a clean sheet and perhaps a one or even two-goal win. Lautaro Martinez is their top scorer this season, with sixteen goals. He will be their biggest threat. Dzeko did well in the group stage, but we foresee Lukaku coming in and the Bosnian’s aerial prowess later being introduced from the bench. As stated, Barella and Calhanoglu must get forward and try to create. Calhanoglu is a significant danger from his crossing, shooting, and free kicks, and these are avenues Inter will look to exploit.
Dimarco and Dumfries at wing-back will be vital too. The Dutchman may start on the right over Darmian, despite being an inconsistent presence in the side this term. His raking runs up and down the pitch, and ability to dribble around the box and cross could be a vital weapon for Inter here. Dimarco will also raid on the other side, and his passing and shooting could be crucial too. Inter’s wide threat tends to come from the full-backs, given their three-at-the-back system. We see them playing on the flanks often and being a little more expansive in these zones, targeting the space here as they will feel they need to take a lead to Portugal.
Porto In Attack and Especially on the Counter
The Portuguese carry a threat of their own. We have already referred to the issues they have with injuries. However, they still have plenty of threat in attack with Franco, Pepe (the winger, not the defender), Namaso (if Toni Martinez is not fit) and the always impressive Taremi. They will likely play more on the counter in this game as the away team, looking to pick up anything they can get as they will back themselves to win at home. Indeed, we think they’d be happy with a draw here.
If Porto can win the ball in midfield, they can feed it quickly to the tricky Pepe and Franco. They can then dribble into the spaces which Dumfries and Dimarco may have vacated. Brozovic, Barella, and Calhanoglu must be defensively diligent in this situation. However, while Barella is a buzzy type of midfielder, Calhanoglu can be easily bypassed sometimes, so Porto might target him in midfield to start their counter-attacks. Of course, Mkhitaryan could still be passed fit for Inter.
When Mario and Sanusi can supplement the attack from full-back, the four wide players can link with the two strikers to find avenues and openings to make their way into the box. If they can find space in the box, Taremi, in particular, is a lethal finisher. Onana in the Italians’ goal must alert, as must the three Inter centre-backs, to the threat of the Porto forwards. Porto will fancy themselves to score here – particularly in transitional situations.
This game is tough to call, given that both are good teams (as they tend to be in this phase) in second place in their leagues, even if Inter are well behind Napoli. There could be the factor of Porto’s injuries or them having an eye on the match after this, given they are pursuing the league title. However, both clubs know the importance of the Champions League. Porto last won it in 2004 and Inter in 2010, so they will both want to make the quarter-finals and see what can happen from there. A favourable draw in the last eight could suddenly make a semi-final place a real possibility, so this tie is vital.
Despite Inter being defensively cautious, we see goals in this game. Porto might be reasonably aggressive, looking to win the ball and create chances on the counter. This possibility could force Inter to take more initiative, and we foresee a game where both teams score. We were going to predict a 1-1 draw, as Porto have a real chance of getting something here. However, we envisage a narrow 2-1 victory to the hosts, with the caveat that Porto could definitely turn it around in the second leg with home advantage.
Inter 2-1 Porto
Inter vs Porto Betting Tip – Inter Odds:
10Bet – 50% up to £50 Welcome Bonus
Sport is our life at 10bet. We don’t miss a shot, stroke or tackle, and we make sure you won’t too. We cover football betting, horse racing betting, tennis betting, cricket betting, basketball betting, and so much more. But if greyhounds or Gaelic hurling is your thing, you’ll find that here too.
Luckland Sports – Welcome Offer, Bet £15 Get £10
Sports Betting at Its Best
Luckland online Sports betting is for all Sports fans. With over 20 Sports to choose from, both pre-match & live, we have an extensive coverage of leagues and events from all over the world, covered 24/7.
Everygame (USA and Canada) – Exclusive Sign-Up Bonuses
Everygame was the first online sportsbook to hit the world wide web and paved the way for many of the online sportsbooks we see online today. Thousands of daily live betting options. Up to $750 Sign-Up Bonus!