Champions League: Malaga – Porto Preview


 Needing to inflict FC Porto’s first defeat in three months in order to progress, Málaga CF must “be patient and not affected by nerves” according to coach Manuel Pellegrini.

Manuel Pellegrini


Again without the influential Eliseu, Málaga CF coach Manuel Pellegrini is urging his side to separate themselves from the occasion on Wednesday. Trailing FC Porto 1-0 after the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie, Málaga must win on the night against their Portuguese visitors, who have not lost in any competition since early December. Vítor Pereira’s team will not sit on their lead, meanwhile, with the coach wanting them to stay true to their attacking principles.

Manuel Pellegrini, coach
It is a different match. We have already played 90 minutes of the 180; we have to turn it around and they can’t score here. It is important not to concede any goals. There is a lot of expectation in Malaga as we have the chance to get through to the next stage and we are focused on qualifying. We need to be patient and we must not allow ourselves to be affected by nerves. We need to score a goal – the sooner the better.

Every game is different and there are a lot of circumstances which could influence the outcome of the match. I’ve seen the players training with a lot of intensity and the goal is to get through to the next stage and put Málaga among the best eight teams in Europe. We have a chance of winning against Porto and we are concentrating on that.

I don’t think Porto will change the way they play – they have a defined style and I think they will play to win, not to defend.

Weekend result
Saturday: Real Valladolid CF 1-1 Málaga (Manucho 41; Demichelis 8)

Willy; Gámez, Demichelis, Lugano, Antunes; Lucas Piazón (Morales 77), Iturra, Camacho, Duda (Isco 69); Saviola (Seba 64), Santa Cruz.

• Isco and Joaquín were rested as the fourth-placed Boquerones were held to a Liga draw that leaves them with just four wins in 14 outings in 2013. Martín Demichelis’s early header was the visitors’ first goal in 350 minutes.

Team news
Eliseu has been out since 3 February with strained knee ligaments and is unavailable, but Júlio Baptista is “perfect to play” having recovered from a hamstring injury.

Vítor Pereira, coach
Our experience doesn’t guarantee that we will win – what is really important is our quality and the way we play. I believe in our work, both individually and as a group. We know what we can do and that Málaga will want to score early. We don’t play to defend a lead. We are competitive, while they are going to take risks. We like to play attacking football, we are ambitious, and we will play how we are used to playing. Málaga proved their quality in the Dragão. The difference is that they will start looking for a goal, but if we can score we will put them under pressure.

Weekend result
Friday: Porto 2-0 GD Estoril-Praia (Maicon 4, Martínez 14)
Helton; Danilo, Alex Sandro, Maicon, Otamendi; Fernando, Defour (Izmailov 73), Lucho (André Castro 56); Atsu, Jackson Martínez, James Rodríguez (Varela 56).

• Pereira’s second-placed side extended their unbeaten run to 16 games thanks to Maicon’s second Liga goal of the season and Jackson Martínez’s 23rd in only 22 Liga appearances.

Team news
• João Moutinho (thigh) and Eliaquim Mangala (shoulder) have missed Porto’s last two matches with injuries. Mangala has not played since the first leg as he was also suspended for the 2-1 top-flight victory over Rio Ave FC on 23 February.

Match fact
• Málaga have hosted Portuguese visitors once, beating Boavista FC 1-0 in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup quarter-finals only to lose away by the same scoreline and bow out on penalties in their only previous European campaign.


Malaga – Porto Betting Tip: X


Odds: 3.30

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