Round 24 of Liga Portugal will see FC Porto take on Estoril Praia at the Estádio do Dragão. Porto sits second in the Liga Portugal standings with 54 points, while Estoril are placed 15th with 22 points. In the last league meeting between the two sides, both sides played out a 1-1 draw, with Mehdi Taremi’s penalty in the dying minutes proving clutch after Tiago Gouveia had given the hosts the lead.
Porto will be determined to secure maximum points again after winning 1-3 against Chaves last week and to remain within touching distance of league leaders Benfica. Prior to that, the Dragons faced two consecutive defeats within a week at the hands of Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League and Gil Vicente in Liga Portugal. Overall, the hosts are unbeaten in 12 of their last 13 league outings since the end of October.
Meanwhile, Estoril Praia faces a daunting visit from a rampant Porto side after succumbing to a 3-0 beating at home by Vizela last week, bringing their losing streak to four matches. The Canarinhos have lost seven of their previous eight league matches and won only once. As a result, the visiting team is going through a worrying patch of form as six points separate them from the relegation candidates.
Below, we look at the stats of both teams from the current season to comprehend where the upcoming opponents stand.
Overall performance of both teams
The above viz shows the percentile rank of both teams compared with each other as well as with other teams in Liga Portugal 2022–23. In almost all indicators, Porto has a substantially higher percentile rank than Estoril Praia. Sergio Conceicao’s men are one of the top performers this season, with dominant stats in most of the attacking, passing, and defending indicators. Alternatively, a couple of areas where the visitors have a better rank or are at par are penalty area touches and a high pressing success rate.
Attacking play and breaching the penalty box
The two visuals above compare the two teams based on positional attacks and entries to the opposition penalty box per 90 minutes.
Porto creates nearly 33 positional attacks per match, with 30.5% leading to shots. The hosts also make 21 entries to the penalty box per 90 minutes. They have the highest efficiency rate for positional plays and are the second-best team in terms of penalty area entries. Thus far, Porto have scored 52 goals past the opposition and averaged 2.13 xG per match.
Estoril creates 25.35 positional attacks on average, with 24.3% leading to shots. They are among the averagely ranked teams, with a 10% efficiency rate of positional plays and 13 penalty area entries per match. The visitors have found the back of the net only 19 times this season while averaging 1.19 xG.
Dominance in the air
The above representation shows the ranking of teams in Liga Portugal based on their percentage of aerial duels won. Sergio Conceicao’s Porto have the highest rate of winning aerial duels in contrast to the visitors, who are much lower on the list. The hosts’ dominance in the aerial content is one of the reasons for their solid defensive record and has also aided them in the attack.
On average, the hosts contest 39.74 aerial duels per match against the 45.6 duels attempted by the Canarinhos. In terms of a defensive record, Porto have conceded 15 goals with 0.88 xGA per match, while Estoril have let in 34 goals averaging 1.73 xGA. The visitors have five clean sheets in 23 matches, and for Porto, the number is 11.
Toni Martinez could be handed another start if the manager wants to rest star striker Mehdi Taremi with an important Champions League game to be played in the next midweek. The Spaniard has four goals and two assists thus far, and with half of them coming in the last four league outings, he can be extremely impactful once again if given the nod. Overall, Martinez attempts 3.93 shots per match with 46% accuracy and has an xG per shot of 0.15.
If Estoril are to stop their rot, Tiago Gouveia is one player who can help them do that. The 21-year-old is the side’s leading goal contributor in Liga Portugal with four goals and five assists. The winger not only gets into scoring positions himself but also has the ability to find his teammates in front of the goal. Gouveia currently attempts 1.66 shots per match (35.5% accuracy) along with 1.26 shot assists.
Porto will have to do without the Brazilian trio of Evanilson, Galeno, and Gabriel Veron, all of whom have been ruled out through various injuries. Meanwhile, Estoril Praia will miss the services of Lucas Africo, unavailable since January due to a muscle injury.
On paper, Porto are the firm favourites to win this Liga Portugal tie, especially at the Estádio do Dragão. They cannot settle for anything less than three points to prevent falling further behind in the title race. Meanwhile, Estoril will be hoping for a positive turnaround in their fortunes but will be wary of the monumental task of facing the giants at home.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine