Perennial Portuguese champions Porto are picking up the post-Christmas baton in the competition where they last sampled the sour taste of defeat and can be expected to put that right against everybody’s favourite underdog, Malaga.
A home win for the side who have beaten all bar one (which was their most recent game – a 1-1 draw with Olhanense) at the Estadio Dragao this term is available to back at 17/20 which, at first glance, looks well worth a punt, but you might want to reconsider the visitors’ 10/3, or even the 12/5 for the draw, based on the fact that they didn’t lose a single game against the odds in the group-stage.
Manuel Pellegrini’s cash-strapped Spaniard’s come into this game in decent knick too. They’re unbeaten in four, winning three and sit fourth in La Liga despite helplessly watching prized asset after prized asset flock through La Rosaleda’s exit door at a rate of knots with the club in a state of financial desolation.
If they are to avoid defeat in this first-leg clash, they’ll need to keep the latest Porto hotshot quiet.
Of all the club’s in the world, very few can boast a better success rate when it comes to unearthing talent than the Portistas; Colombian hitman Jackson Martinez being the latest gem to come off their conveyor belt.
The 26-year-old has exemplified an appetite for goals that can rival much-coveted compatriot Falcao and has plundered an incredible 23 goals in his maiden season in the Portuguese top flight, including eight in his last six. He’s found the going a shade tougher in the Champions League, having only managed three in six appearances thus far, but if you’re opposing his 4/1 to open the scoring then there’s every chance you’ve got too much money.
Porto’s new goal machine will probably have to bag more than once if the hosts are going to take the commanding lead they’ll need ahead of the second leg. Malaga are yet to play a Champions League match this term – including qualifying – without finding the back of the net and this makes backing both teams to be on target here a good punt at 11/10.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date