Inter Milan will welcome Porto to the San Siro for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash on Wednesday night. The hosts finished second in Group C behind Bayern Munich but ahead of Barcelona to progress to the knockout stages. The visitors, on the other hand, qualified for the KO stage as the winners of Group D, ahead of teams like Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen.
Both teams are ranked second in their respective domestic leagues and are enjoying an excellent run of form. Inter Milan is unbeaten in the last four Serie A outings and has lost just once across all competitions since November. Meanwhile, Porto have been on an unbeaten streak since October and has won six in a row in Liga Portugal. Below, we look at the stats of both teams from the current season to comprehend how this matchup could play out.
Inter Milan vs Porto in front of the goal
The viz above shows the percentile rank of both teams’ stats compared to each other as well as to other teams in the 2022–23 season of the UEFA Champions League. It can be observed that both teams outperform each other in a few of the indicators. Notably, Inter Milan are ranked higher in terms of xG, crosses, passing accuracy, key passes, and possession rate. Alternatively, Porto have a higher rank or is at par in areas such as goals, shots, opponent xG per shot, and recoveries.
Inter Milan players have taken 68 shots in the group stage and scored ten goals. They accumulated 10.25 xG in total and scored all but one of the goals from inside the penalty area. The xG map above shows the Serie A side attempting most of the shots from inside the box but has also shown a desire to attempt long-range efforts with reasonable accuracy. Inter Milan have scored 1.67 goals per match, averaging a similar xG rate per match. They take 11.33 shots per match with a 45.6% accuracy rate and a 0.15 xG value per shot.
Alternatively, Porto scored twelve goals in total from the six group stage matches, including three penalties. They accumulated a non-penalty xG tally of 8.58 and took a slightly higher number of shots, but with a lower xG value per shot. The Liga Portugal side scored a couple of goals from near the six-yard box and one right from the edge of the penalty area. They scored at the rate of two goals per match while averaging 1.81 xG. Furthermore, Porto averages 12 shots per game with a 43.1% accuracy rate.
The above viz depicts the ball progression made by Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League 2022–23. They perform 23.5 positional attacks per 90, with 28.4% ending in shots. Additionally, they make 73 progressive passes per 90 with 67.8% accuracy, which includes 43.17 passes to the final third (69.5% accuracy). The Nerazzurri make significant use of the flanks to progress the ball forward and also generate attacking moves through the central zones with great intensity.
In terms of attacking moves, Porto creates 26.33 positional attacks per 90, with 31% ending in shots. Additionally, they attempt 67.83 progressive passes per match with 72.5% accuracy, of which 40.67 are to the final third (60.2% accuracy). The Dragons make ball progression using the wide positions more frequently than the central areas of the pitch.
The two visuals above compare both teams based on their average defensive territory on the pitch. Both teams make a good amount of defensive actions all around the pitch, including the penalty area. Porto plays with a higher backline compared to Inter Milan but has also given up a few fouls inside their box, unlike the hosts. Overall, the Italian team averages 43.83 interceptions and 74.33 recoveries per match, compared to 40.5 interceptions and 81.17 recoveries by the Liga Portugal side. Additionally, the hosts and the visitors give up a similar number of 10.83 fouls per match.
Lautaro Martinez has once again shown his prowess in attack for Inter Milan this season. He is the team’s top scorer in the domestic league and second in the Serie A scoring charts with 13 goals. So far, he has only scored once along with two assists in the 2022-23 Champions League and will want to increase his goal contribution tally in the Round of 16. The Argentine will be leading the hosts’ front line, and the Porto defenders will have the task of marking him out of the game.
Meanwhile, Mehdi Taremi has given some incredible performances in a Porto shirt this season. The Iranian star is among the top contributors in terms of goals and assists in Liga Portugal. The veteran striker is also among the top performers in the Champions League, having added five goals and two assists. The Inter Milan defensive unit will have the task of ensuring Taremi doesn’t hit top gear, as his goal-poaching and creative passing abilities can prove lethal for any opposition.
The only exclusion from the Inter Milan squad for this knockout tie seems to be Joaquin Correa due to a hamstring injury. Other than that, Inter should name a full-strength lineup with all other players fit and available for selection.
Meanwhile, Porto have been suffering an injury crisis in recent weeks, which could impact the longevity of their Champions League campaign. They are expected to miss the services of several key players like Otavio, Gabriel Veron, Fabio Cardoso, Evanilson, Galeno, and Mateus Uribe.
Inter Milan vs Porto will be an intense contest in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. The Italian side will have the advantage of playing at home in the first leg and will be motivated to carry a handsome advantage into the return leg. On the other side is a confident Porto side that will pose a tough challenge to the hosts’ ambitions.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine