Porto vs Inter – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Tuesday 14th March 2023
Estadio do Dragao
As part of our Champions League predictions, we take a look at Inter’s visit to Porto for the second leg of their round of 16 tie. Inter hold a slender 1-0 lead to take to Portugal following Lukaku’s late intervention – will it be enough? Read on with our Porto vs Inter prediction.
Porto vs Inter Match Preview
Porto are doing well in Portugal, though the second place in the league – 8 points behind Benfica – is never satisfactory for the club and their fans. Nevertheless, they have won 11 of their previous 13 league games. They have also scored 55 goals in 24 league games, averaging more than two per game. Porto are also still in the Taca de Portugal, with a two-legged semi-final against Famalicao to come. At the Dragao, Porto are very strong; they have only lost there three times all season, so it is a bit of a fortress. They come into this game after a 3-2 win over Estoril, where they were pegged back twice.
Inter travel west in somewhat poor form. The Milanese club have won only four of their previous seven games in Serie A. Indeed, their last three away games have proved problematic – they have picked up only one point, including losses to Spezia and Bologna and a goalless draw with Sampdoria. They also only scored once in these three games. Therefore, Inter’s away record has been poor recently. They have a two-legged Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus to come in April. However, in Serie A, they are second; they lag 18 points behind almost certain champions Napoli and are fighting for a Champions League spot.
The first leg was pretty even, with Inter winning 1-0. The Italians had 57 per cent of the ball, which we anticipated as we thought Porto would play more on the break in the San Siro. The xG stats were also pretty even, with Inter having 1.75 to Porto’s 1.65. There were 28 goal attempts in a lively match, 10 for Porto, so the Portuguese club can count themselves unfortunate not to make the scoresheet. A late Lukaku goal after Otavio received a second yellow card got Inter the victory. Porto know they must win in the second leg to have any chance of reaching the quarter-final.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Galeno
Will Not Play: Otavio, Evanilson, Meixedo
Might Not Play: Skriniar, Correa
Will Not Play: Gosens, Dalbert
Porto vs Inter Lineups (Predicted)
Porto (4-4-2): Costa; Sanusi, Pepe, Carmo, Mario; Galeno, Uribe, Grujic, Franco; Taremi, Pepe
Inter (3-5-2): Onana; Acerbi, Bastoni, Darmian; Dimarco, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Barella, Dumfries; Dzeko, Martinez
Porto vs Inter Analysis
Porto Must Attack To Try To Level The Tie
As stated, having lost the first leg, Porto must win. Therefore, there is more onus on them to take the game to Inter than there was in the first leg. In the first game, Porto could go to the San Siro and play a bit more cautiously and more of a containing game. Of course, they were expansive at times, too, and had many attempts, plenty of which came on the counter-attack. This match represents a different proposition. Inter will likely sit deep in a lower block with the back three/five and challenge Porto to break them down. After all, Inter have a lead to protect and don’t have to chase the game.
Porto will likely play a 4-4-2/4-3-3 hybrid, and Uribe and Grujic will be expected to control the midfield. They must intelligently build play when they receive the ball from the centre-backs Pepe and Carmo. Sanusi and Mario will bomb forward from full-back and attempt to offer overloads in the wide areas. If Galeno is fit, he and Franco possess the trickery and dynamism to create on the flanks alongside said full-backs and to link well with (the other) Pepe and technical Taremi up front. Otavio is a miss, however. Porto must win here, so the clinical Taremi must take any chances he gets. He was brilliant throughout the group stage and remains a massive threat. Pepe, too, is a tricky player who can create.
Eustaquio is a potential starter in midfield, and Namaso and Martinez are possibilities to start up front or come on in the second half.
Inter Will Likely Play A Containing Game, Which Is Risky
As stated, Inter had more of the ball in the first leg, and the responsibility was on them -as the home team – to make things happen. They have a lead to defend in the second leg, so coach Simone Inzaghi will not be gung-ho here. Despite scoring 47 goals in Serie A, Inter are usually good at closing games down, with a back three that looks to be solid defensively first. The three of Acerbi, Bastoni, and likely Darmian (Skriniar is a doubt) must be very wary of the threat of the previously mentioned Porto players. The Portuguese club has tricky, dangerous players, particularly out wide, so the wider centre-backs must help in the channels.
These wider centre-backs will get help from their wing-backs Dimarco and Dumfries (when not attacking). Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan and Barella will also try to be defensively diligent in midfield. We have gone for these three as Inzaghi has seemed to favour them recently. However, with a lead to protect, this might be a game where the talented holding midfield Brozovic comes into the team to build play from deep and shut down the passing lanes that Porto will look to exploit. So, don’t be surprised if he starts the game. Generally, Inter must be defensively strong and not allow Porto chances on goal.
Playing too much of a containing game can be risky and encourage opponents, so Inter will try to get forward on the counter when they can. With the flying Dumfries on one side and the quality Dimarco on the other, they have a threat on the sides. The midfield three can also decide when to join the attack and help Martinez and Dzeko up front. The Bosnian Dzeko is always a threat in the air. Inter can bring on Lukaku up front, as in the first leg, if they need a goal (assuming he doesn’t start).
This match is between two relatively even sides that could go either way. The onus is on Porto to attack, as they are the home team and behind in the tie. Therefore, Inter can travel to Portugal and look to sit deeper and play on the break. They can attempt to hit Porto in the wide areas when Porto’s full-backs and wingers are overexposed in the attack. The dynamic of the tie suits Inter, and they will feel confident of getting at least the draw they need to progress to the quarter-final.
However, Sergio Conceicao’s side are excellent at home and always fashion chances. True, most Portuguese opposition is at a poorer level than Inter. Inter have had their troubles recently, though, and have been struggling away from home. Porto have attacking threats and can score a couple of goals here, but Inter might get one, too. The tie could go to extra time. We think Porto can score again in the overtime period to nick the tie.
90 Minutes – Porto 2-1 Inter (2-2 Aggregate)
Porto To Progress 3-2 On Aggregate After Extra Time
Porto vs Inter Betting Tip – Porto Odds:
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