One of the most unpredictable pairs in the first elimination round of the Europa League is Porto – Lazio. The Dragons come from the Champions League, where third place in a group with Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and Milan is not a bad achievement. Moreover, they had a chance to advance to the quarterfinals, but failed to deal with the Mattresses at home in a direct clash on December 7.
At the same time, Lazio was expected to play more in Group E of the Europa League. The Eagles finished second. They were overtaken only by Galatasaray, and the only defeat was in Istanbul. Opponents here were also Marseille and Lokomotiv Moscow, and the interesting thing was that the total number of goals in Lazio’s matches was only ten.
Both teams have been enjoying great form lately. Almost a week ago, Porto met Sporting Lisbon in a championship clash and managed to avoid a draw. The match ended 2: 2 and the Dragons remained with a six-point lead at the top. This was the first failure for the team after eleven consecutive victories in all competitions.
Half a season we see a strong Lazio at home, with the familiar strike attack, but also very weak performances in defense. Here, the Eagles have kept five dry nets in their last six games, losing heavily to AC Milan in the Italian Cup. Over the weekend, the grandee from Rome beat Bologna 3-0 and continues the chase for the Top 4 with Juventus, Atalanta and Roma.
Porto is a two-time winner of the trophy from the second strongest European club tournament, and on the way to triumph in 2003 he eliminated Lazio in the semifinals. The competition in this tournament is serious and I don’t think the Dragons will advance to the quarterfinals. At home against Lazio, however, I think they will take an advance before the rematch in Rome.