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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

FC Porto vs Manchester United CL 08-09: Analysis, Live Score

(This entry was originally published on Tuesday, April 14th, 2009)

Manchester United visits Portuguese champions FC Porto on Wednesday (15 April 2009) in the second round quarter final match of Champions League 2008-09. After the 2-2 draw in the home leg, Manchester United is now under pressure to become the first English club to win over Porto away from home. The Red Devils must win at Porto in order to reach the semi final of the tournament; while Porto could make it to the last four even with a 1-1 draw at home. Overall, United is left with a tough task to accomplish away at Porto home ground Estadio do Dragao.

Match: Chelsea vs Liverpool, Quarter Final, UEFA Champions League 08-09

Date: 15 April 2009, Wednesday

Venue: Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal

Kick off: 19:45 BST (British Standard Time)

Manchester United is not at their top at this moment as they recently lost to Liverpool 4-1 at home, followed by a 2-0 defeat away at Fulham. Then they could survive a nervy clash with Aston Villa before clinching last weekend’s another close 2-1 victory over Sunderland. However, Manchester United has a very big squad which includes a number of quality players in every position on the field. So, Manchester United fans can hold on to their patience and expect a result in their favor.

However, the kind of threat Porto poses at home could be a source of worry for Manager Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of their trip to Portugal. In front of home fans, Porto would not leave any stone unturned to clinch a semi final berth on Wednesday. Porto has been in superb form of recent as they are now unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions, and after defeating Estrela da Amadora 3-0 at home in the weekend, Porto is now firmly on course to clinch their fourth consecutive domestic title. Porto manager Jesualdo Ferreira rested some of his key players in weekend match against Amadora, but still the Portuguese champions pulled off a big margin victory, indicating the strength of their squad.

Porto faced Manchester United thrice in European competitions before this season and never lost at home. In fact, the Portuguese club is unbeaten in 12 home games against English clubs. In 1977-78 Cup Winners’ Cup, Porto got past Manchester United with a 4-0 home victory, and though United defeated Porto in Champions League 1996-97, Porto could hold United to a goalless draw at home. Last time, Porto faced Manchester United was in Champions League 2003-04 where Porto held United to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford and then knocked them out with a 1-0 home victory. Moreover, Manchester United’s previous record at Portugal is not very impressive with four wins, four loses and a draw in their nine visits to the country. Manchester United is winless in their last three away matches in Europe.

However, Manchester United is unbeaten in 22 games in Europe now, a record in the competition. Their last defeat on the road in Europe came two years back when they were defeated 3-0 by AC Milan at San Siro. To be honest, clinching a semi final spot world not be an easy one for the Ferguson boys who are looking for their high-flying form. Defender Rio Ferdinand has been included in the Manchester United squad for the match after missing the first leg match with Porto and last weekend’s 2-1 win over Sunderland due to groin injury. Reports have it in the media that the defender would start the second round match if he recovers the injury and remains fit. In the presence of Ferdinand and Vidic in the middle of their defense, it could be easier for United to maintain their unbeaten streak of more than two years on the road in European competition. Rafael da Silva and Anderson will undergo late fitness test before the kick off the match as they are still recovering from their injuries. However, they have been included in the 23-member squad of Manchester United.

FC Porto, on the other hand, has only one injury woe as they will miss the service of defender Jorge Fucile. Moreover, Porto will have some of their key players like Lisandro Lopez and Fernando fresh after getting rest for the match against Amadora. Key striker Hulk was also featured only for second half action in their last league game. So, Coach Jesualdo Ferreira has a full strength squad for the visit of Manchester United.

Manchester United has some strong world class players in every position. Rooney has been in good scoring form, while new face Macheda has already proven his skill and talent scoring two winning goals against Aston Villa and Sunderland. Tevez and Berbatov are two other quality strikers to form the attacking line up of United. In the midfield, Manchester Untied has creative players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Scholes, while their defense features two talented players centre defenders in Ferdinand and Vidic. Van der Sar in goal has been synonymous of reliability for Manchester United.

The first thing that came into my mind while thinking about Porto squad is their balanced combination of youth and experience. Most importantly, they have some match winners who are capable of stealing the show on their days. Lisandro López, Hulk and Ernesto Farías form Porto’s attacking line up and the good thing is that they all are now in good form. Though Bruno Alves made a lethal mistake in the first leg match which awarded Manchester United an equalizer, the Mexican would lead Porto’s defense, and during the 3-0 win over Amadora on Saturday, Alvez showed that the mistake did not cost any part of his confidence, scoring a superb goal from a curling free-kick from 25 meters. Moreover, Porto has another talented defender in Rolando. In the midfield, Porto has quality players like Lucho González, Cristian Rodríguez, Raul Meireles, Mariano González who are all capable of controlling the match.

Online Live Score and Updates

If you can not manage to enjoy the match live on television, you can get live score and updates of the match from the following websites:

Live Score

Goalzz

Live Football Scores

Goal.com

Footie Scorez

Overall, I think, it would not be fair to pick up any favorite for the match. Rather, I would like to say that both sides have 50-50 chances in the match. Manchester Untied may have a big and better squad, but you can not write off Porto, considering their home advantage and most importantly, their confidence which is very important for the crucial matches like this. I see all the evidences of experiencing a classic mind-blowing affair between Manchester United and Porto. What do you think about the match?

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