Portuguese side FC Porto take on Turkish side Besiktas on Wednesday in the Champions League as Group G action gets kicked off in earnest.
Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal 13 Sep 2017 6:45 pm (GMT)
Key Stat: FC Porto have yet to lose against Besiktas in five matches to date.
Expert Verdict: FC Porto will come into this match in Group G play as favorites to win as they are the home side. The Dragon's den known as the Estadio do Dragao is a menacing venue, and it is one where much greater teams than Besiktas have come to lose. However, this Porto side aren't the one of a decade ago. In fact, they rarely win their league anymore and are just getting by as best they can for the time being. Because of that, don't expect a massive win over a tough Besiktas side, but they still should get the three points. This is a wide open group with four closely matched teams in it, so points at this early stage- and especially at home- will be crucial.
Sergio Conceicao is without goalkeeper Fabiano due to injury here, while center forward Vincent Aboubakar is out due to a red suspension carried over from last season's competition.
With Aboubakar out of the match, Porto will have to look elsewhere for quality and inspiration. One man that can provide that is center midfielder Oliver Torres. The Spaniard, just 22, has three assists in the league already and will be looking forward to showing Atletico Madrid just what they are missing after his transfer to Portugal.
Porto have won each of their five league games to kick off their season, including a 4-0 home win over Estoril on opening day and a 3-0 home win over Chaves on Friday.
Defenders:Layun, Felipe, Marcano, Telles
Midfielders:Torres, Pereira, Corona, Brahimi
Senol Gunes will be missing right back Gokhan Gonul, center back Atinc Nukan, and right winger Gokhan Tore due to injuries.
There are a lot of big name, or former big names in this Besiktas squad, and one of them is striker Alvaro Negredo. The former Real Madrid, Sevilla, and Manchester City man has struggled mightily in the last few seasons and has no goals in this one for his new side. That all needs to change soon if they are to get a result in this fixture.
After losing in the Super Cup to Konyaspor, Besiktas have bounced back to win three times and draw once in the Turkish Super Lig. However, they have scrapped by getting results against the likes of Bursaspor (2-1, home) and most recently Karabukspor (0-1, away).
Defenders:Uysal, Pepe, Medel, Erkin
Defensive Midfielders:Hutchinson, Ozyakup
Attacking Midfielders:Quaresma, Talisca, Babel
Besiktas have faced FC Porto four times now in official competition, albeit with the last fixture coming in 2010, and they have still yet to record a victory. Here is a look at those results:
Nov 4, 2010: Porto 1-1 Besiktas (UEL)
Oct 21, 2010: Besiktas 1-3 Porto (UEL)
Dec 11, 2007: Porto 2-0 Besiktas (UCL)
Oct 3, 2007: Besiktas 0-1 Porto (UCL)
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
FC Porto are at ½ to win, a draw is at 11/4, and a Besiktas win is at 13/2.
Of all the groups in the Champions League this time around, this one is the most evenly balanced one. AS Monaco will be clear favorites, but they aren't miles from RB Leipzig or FC Porto. And then there is Besiktas, who are not nearly as bad as many would assume.
Because of that dichotomy and the home field advantage for FC Porto, they have been given the favorites tag by some margin here. But be wary of Besiktas, for they are an experienced side with a lot of good talent in it.
It's going to be an interesting battle as those older players take on some younger one in Porto's side, and that could end up influencing the direction of the match.
Porto to win and keep a clean sheet is at 11/8. They have kept three clean sheets out of three in their home league matches thus far.
FC Porto use their home field advantage to eek out a close win on match day one in the group.