Preview: Barcelona vs. Porto

Preview: Barcelona vs. Porto

The top two in Group H will meet for a mouthwatering Champions League fixture on Tuesday evening, with Barcelona welcoming Porto to Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.

Barcelona are currently at the top of the section, level on nine points with second-placed Porto, while third-placed Shakhtar Donetsk are just three points behind in what is a fascinating group.

Barcelona would have booked their spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League with two games to spare had they managed to overcome Shakhtar on November 7, but the Ukrainian outfit recorded a 1-0 victory, with the result putting firm pressure on the La Liga champions.

Xavi’s side remain top of Group H, but they are far from comfortable, with Porto in second on the same points (nine), while Shakhtar in third are just two points behind.

Barcelona would book their spot in the last-16 stage of the competition if they win on Tuesday, while a draw would also be enough if Shakhtar either draw or lose to Royal Antwerp in the other match in the section.

A defeat for the Catalan side, coupled with a win for Shakhtar, would leave the two sides on nine points heading into the final matchday, with Xavi’s team finishing away to Antwerp, and they will be desperate to avoid having to wait until December 13 to decide their fate.

Barcelona will enter this match off the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, with the result leaving them down in fourth position in the table, and they have only managed to win two of their last five matches in all competitions.

Xavi is also yet to lead the Catalan side into the knockout round of the Champions League, failing in his two attempts, so there is major pressure on the 43-year-old when it comes to this competition.

Porto have also been in strong form in Group H, winning three and losing one of their four matches to collect nine points which, as mentioned, has left them in second position in the table.

A win for the Portuguese giants on Tuesday would see them advance to the knockout round of the competition if Shakhtar draw or lose to Antwerp, while a draw would be enough for the Portuguese giants if Shakhtar lose to the team currently at the bottom of the group.

Porto have beaten Antwerp twice in this section, in addition to recording a 3-1 success over Shakhtar, but they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona in the reverse match in the early stages of October.

Sergio Conceicao’s side will enter this match off the back of three straight wins in all competitions, including a 2-1 success over Vitoria Guimaraes in the league on November 11, and a 4-0 success over Montalegre in the Taca de Portugal on Friday.

Porto have won this competition on two occasions, lifting the trophy in 1987 and 2004, and they advanced to the round of 16 last season, losing to eventual finalists Inter Milan 1-0 on aggregate.

Barcelona Champions League form:

Barcelona form (all competitions):

Porto Champions League form:

Porto form (all competitions):

We say: Barcelona 1-1 Porto
Barcelona’s performances in recent weeks have been disappointing, and we are struggling to back them to beat a talented Porto outfit on Tuesday night. A point would not be enough to guarantee their spot in the next stage, but Porto have enough quality to secure a share of the spoils in this match.

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