The Europa League returns on Wednesday night with Porto welcoming Lyon to the Estadio do Dragao for the first leg of their last-16 encounter.
The Dragons head into this contest off the back of a 4-2 Primeira Liga victory against Pacos de Ferreira on Sunday, while Les Gones also netted four times in their last match, winning by a 4-1 scoreline last Friday against Ligue 1 side Lorient.
While Porto have been a dominant force domestically this season – currently undefeated in the Primeira Liga and sitting six points clear at the summit – Sergio Conceicao’s men failed to advance from their Champions League group and subsequently dropped down into the Europa League playoffs.
The Dragons were then faced with a challenging tie against Serie A outfit Lazio last month, but they managed to win 4-3 on aggregate, with Toni Martinez (2), Mehdi Taremi and Mateus Uribe all on the scoresheet across the two legs.
Since their elimination from the Champions League group stage was confirmed on December 7, Porto have put together an impressive 18-game unbeaten run across all competitions, including 15 victories and at least two or more goals scored on 14 occasions.
Conceicao’s side head into Wednesday’s clash with Lyon having won the first leg of five of their seven Europa League matches in the knockout rounds on home soil, with their only defeat in this run against Manchester City back in 2011-12.
Porto’s last meeting with Lyon was in the quarter-finals of the 2003-04 Champions League, with the Portuguese giants winning 4-2 on aggregate before going all the way to lift the trophy under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho.
Spirits will understandably be high among the Porto camp, but they cannot underestimate their midweek opponents, who have excelled in this season’s Europa League.
Unlike Porto, Lyon have endured an underwhelming domestic campaign, with Peter Bosz’s men currently sitting ninth in Ligue 1 and 19 points behind league leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
However, their efforts in the Europa League have been the highlight of their campaign so far; Les Gones finished top of Group A ahead of Rangers, Sparta Prague and Brondby, with five victories and a draw from their six matches – no team accumulated more points (16) or scored more goals (also 16) than the French side during the group stage.
Lyon now prepare for a challenging two-legged contest against a Porto side, who they have failed to win against in any of their previous four meetings, including defeats in both of their away matches.
Another concerning statistic for Les Gones is that Porto have won each of their last six games against French opposition, and have not lost in 11 home games against Ligue 1 clubs since a 2-0 defeat to Nantes back in September 1971.
However, Lyon boss Bosz has experience of beating the Portuguese giants during his time with Bayer Leverkusen; Under the Dutchman’s tenure, the Bundesliga outfit defeated the Dragons 5-2 on aggregate in the 2019-20 Europa League round of 32.
Lyon have also won all three of their away games in the Europa League this season, scoring nine goals in the process, so they will be confident of securing a positive result on Wednesday to take into the second leg.
Porto Europa League form:
Porto form (all competitions):
Lyon Europa League form:
Lyon form (all competitions):
We say: Porto 2-2 Lyon
Lyon have had two extra days preparation for Wednesday’s first leg, but we expect a closely-fought contest to be played out between two of the favourites to go all the way in this year’s competition.
The two teams have an eye for goal and we can see the net rippling at both ends of the pitch, but will little to separate them, an entertaining score draw could be on the cards in Portugal.