Saturday, October 4, 2008

Porto - Sporting match preview

FC Porto travels to Lisbon to face Sporting at Estádio José Alvalade in another edition of these clubs storied Clássico meetings.

The clubs are coming at it from completely opposite weekends. While Paulo Bento's club celebrate brilliant play in the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over FC Basel, the Dragões were humiliated by Arsenal 4-0 in a score-line that was in-fact flattering to Porto. Excluding the Leões peculiar performance in losing 2-0 to Benfica last week, they appeared to clear up their defensive problems of last year and very capable of not only winning the domestic championship but making a hearty run in European competition.

Porto is without question licking its wounds from Arsenal and Jesualdo Ferreira will need to address this tactically. Against Arsenal they came out with their customary fast approach and looked to be the aggressor but once they fell behind they dropped their guard and were run rough-shod. Confidence is key with the club right now and Lucho González and Lisandro López need to recognize this and show leadership and patience. The backline needs to begin to communicate better and excluding Cristian Săpunaru, work-rate has been far from desirable. As they approach the tandem of Hélder Postiga and Yannick Djaló they will need to radically improve their marking of Sporting will echo memories of London very quickly.

Tomás Costa, who of course has never played against Sporting and obviously doesn't comprehend the notion of providing your opponent additional motivation, commented pre-match:

"Sporting is a difficult opponent that plays good football but we know well their ups and downs. It’s the ideal opponent for us at this point. We have more pace now and against Sporting, we have to play like we’ve done against Belenenses and Fenerbahçe and prove why we’re the Portuguese champions."