Champions League

UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Preview: Inter Milan vs Porto

|
Image for UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Preview: Inter Milan vs Porto

The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League took a hiatus in early November, shortly before the start of the World Cup and there has been a lull for more than two months now. The Champions League, inarguably Europe’s greatest competition returns to almost half a billion viewers and millions of screens in less than a month from now.

A tournament which never fails to deliver, the Champions League has always been full of surprises and no doubt, this current spell is no exception.

So far in this edition of the Champions League, the back of the net has been found 304 times in 96 matches, averaging 3.17 goals per game, with Paris Saint Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah sitting at the top of the goalscoring charts with seven goals each.

On the back of a quite interesting Round of 16 draw in November, the entire football universe is set to experience some sensational match-ups in February and March. A couple of heavyweight fixtures have been thrown up for this round of Europe’s most illustrious tournament.

Defending champions and 14-time winners, Real Madrid, are heavily in the mix, as they look to add the quinzième UEFA Champions League to their trophy gallery in either Real Madrid City or the Santiago Bernabeu when they take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, a remake of the 2022 final in Saint-Denis.

This series will look at the next round of matchups!

AC Milan vs Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund

Club Brugge vs Benfica

Eintrach Frankfurt vs SSC Napoli

PSG vs Bayern Munich

RB Leipzig vs Manchester City

Real Madrid vs Liverpool

Inter Milan vs Porto

Not the best but certainly not the worst, Inter Milan host Portuguese side, FC Porto at the San Siro stadium on February 22 before travelling to on March 14 for the second leg of this somewhat promising tie.

They’re united by a common former manager; Jose Mourinho, who won the Champions League with Porto in 2004 and with Inter Milan in 2010.

Inter Milan

Inter Milan would definitely be hoping they’re finally back to their days of epic triumphs in the UEFA Champions League. The days when Jose Mourinho led a comparatively weaker team to victory over Barcelona in the semi-finals of the 2010 Champions League and a victory over Bayern Munich in the final. The days of Diego Milito upfront partnering with the likes of Wesley Sneidjer.

Ever since Inter Milan won the Champions League in 2010, things have taken a downward trend for them in Europe. They’ve had to be relegated to the second tier of European football. Coming off a quarter final exit at the hands of Schalke 04 in 2010-11 and a Round of 16 egress thanks to Olympique Marseille in 2011-12, Inter Milan went on a six season long Champions League intermission only returning to topflight football in the 2018/19 season. This season marks their first appearance in the knock-out stages of the competition in eleven years.
They’re popularly known as the nemesis of Spanish giants, Barcelona, after defeating the Blaugranas at home and holding them to a draw at the Camp Nou and are capable of pulling big stunts in situations like these.

FC Porto

Sérgio Conceição’s side are in the last 16 of this season’s competition, topping a group including Bayer Leverkusen, Atletico Madrid and Club Brugge.

FC Porto were the side that eliminated Juventus in the same stage of the 2020-21 Champions League and put up a good fight against Chelsea in the quarter-finals of that same season, notable for Medhi Taremi scoring a beautiful bicycle kick at Stamford Bridge to almost give his club a befitting comeback.

They’re without a doubt the smaller team going into this contest but have what it takes to stop Inter Milan.

Head-to-Head

Porto met the Nerazzuri in the same stage of the 2004-05 UEFA Champions League where the Italians prevailed 4-2 on aggregate to progress to the quarter-finals.

Both stripes of blue have met a quartet of times in the Champions League with Inter winning twice, drawing once and losing on one occasion.

Is Erling Haaland the best player in the world?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Players to watch for:

Lautaro Martinez(Inter Milan)

The Argentine forward has not had the best of campaigns this spell, enduring a relatively difficult campaign at the 2022 World Cup which his country eventually won. Lautaro Martinez is the highest goalscorer for Simone Inzaghi’s side this season with 12 goals and 5 assists in 26 appearances. Not fantastic for a number 10 but definitely not too bad.

Martinez scored the second of Inter’s three goals as they held Barcelona to a 3-3 draw at the Camp Nou on October 12, a result which was effective in landing the biggest blow to the Catalans’ qualification to the knock-out stages.

Edin Dzeko(Inter Milan)

In terms of goals scored this season, Bosnia’s Edin Dzeko is a close second to Lautaro Martinez. He’s got the features that would terrify almost any defence. Size and stature especially, the 6ft 4in striker can use his body to create real problems for the Porto defence. Dzeko comes face to face with his nemesis, Pepe, Porto’s current captain.

The two met when Porto slugged it out with AS Roma in the Champions League few years back when Dzeko used to ply his trade for Giallorossi. Dzeko was involved in a series of duel with the Portuguese captain which culminated in a heated altercation in which both players literally went head to head with one another. Now the Bosnian striker gets to go head-on with his nemesis when they meet in the Champions League next month.

Medhi Taremi (Porto)

The Iranian frontrunner for the Portuguese outfit this season has been in wonderful form. He’s found the back of the net 19 times in 27 appearances in all competitions this season for Conceição’s side, which includes five goals in the group-stages of the Champions league, ranking as third highest goalscorer alongside Erling Haaland and the already eliminated Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona) who have five each.

https://twitter.com/ChampionsLeague/status/1587507821251289088?s=20&t=exy5ZvUaT3rEWt1RyftucQ

Reminiscence brings back that laudable moment when Taremi scored a beautiful bicycle kick against Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the UCL. Porto almost staged a comeback against the eventual champions but Taremi’s Champions League goal of the season was unfortunately late and as a result they could progress no further.

https://twitter.com/SuperSportTV/status/1382077949919252485?s=20&t=2_ifDq3KDs4cxf7xSv8gJw

Main image credit Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’YdXhEC03QCRK4WKIYViEwQ’,sig:’TURWIGtxolaBvzHSXaYqgKWWU6IVfOZrKiKNZkDXahg=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1457447837′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});

Share this article

Jesuyemi is an avid fan of sports, especially football. He also enjoys WWE and athletics. He's been writing for a few years now and is a supporter of FC Barcelona.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *