Porto welcomes Inter Milan to the Estádio do Dragao on Tuesday night for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixture. The visitors lead the tie by a goal after winning the first leg 1-0. Romelu Lukaku came on to score a late winner after Otavio received his second booking of the night and was sent off. However, Porto won’t let their opportunity for a quarter-final berth pass without a proper fight on home territory this time.
The hosts have won two of their last three matches since the first-leg defeat. They have shown strong home form throughout the season and have won nine of the last ten matches at the Estadio do Dragao. Meanwhile, the visitors have succumbed to defeat twice in the last three games. They are winless in their last three away matches and have failed to register a goal in two of them.
Below, we take a look at some of the stats that depict what the first leg looked like and comprehend how the return leg could play out.
Overall performance of both teams
The viz above shows the percentile rank of both teams’ stats compared to each other as well as to other teams in the UEFA Champions League 2022–23. It can be observed that Inter Milan has better overall stats than Porto in most of the parameters. Notably, the Serie A side has superior stats in terms of xG, accurate or key passes, possession rate, and opposition xG per shot.
Alternatively, a few indicators in which the Liga Portugal side fares better or is at par are goals, shots, opponent penalty area entries, and recoveries. Overall, both teams are close in the attacking and defensive departments but based on the stats, Inter Milan’s passing gameplay has been better than Porto’s in the UEFA Champions League.
Both teams in front of the goal from the last encounter
The two visuals above show the shot maps of both teams from the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 contest. Both teams could penetrate each other’s penalty box, but ultimately Inter Milan came out on top after Porto went one man down. The Nerazzurri took 14 shots, with four on target, and Lukaku scored the eventual winner.
In comparison, Porto managed to take ten shots with four on target and performed commendably until going down to ten men. The closeness of the contest is highlighted by the xG of both teams over 90 minutes. Porto ended the match with an xG of 1.82 compared to the 1.88 xG accumulated by Inter Milan.
Overall, both teams have averaged a similar number of 11.71 shots per match with 42.7% accuracy in the UEFA Champions League this season, indicating how evenly poised the tie is.
Progressive passing gameplay
Porto kept 40.77% possession and attempted 284 passes (86.32% accuracy) compared to the 59.23% possession for Inter Milan along with 496 passes attempted (86.6% accuracy). The Portuguese side lost its foothold in the game after Otavio received the marching orders, as they lost their link between defence and attack. Ultimately, Inter Milan were able to use the wide areas more frequently and effectively to advance. They attempted 85 progressive passes against the 49 made by the Liga Portugal side.
Overall, Porto creates 25.14 positional attacks per match while playing in Europe, with 31.8% leading to shots. They make 38.43 passes to the final third with 61.3% accuracy. Alternatively, their Italian opponent makes 45.43 final-third passes (a 71.7% accuracy rate) and generates 25.43 positional attacks, with 27% leading to shots.
The two visuals above compare both teams based on their average defensive territory from the last meeting. Although Porto usually employs a high backline, they had to sit back in the first leg because they were at a disadvantage. They dropped deep and defended well after the red card, as seen by the interceptions made inside the defensive third and penalty box.
Inter Milan, on the other hand, were gradually able to play more in the opposition’s half and didn’t have much defending to do in the final quarter. However, their defenders had to respond to the visitors’ attacking threats earlier on, with a few interceptions made in the defensive third. The visitors also gave up a few fouls close to the penalty box as compared to the hosts, who committed fouls higher up the pitch.
Overall, Porto averages 42.57 interceptions and 82.14 recoveries per match, compared to 41.43 interceptions and 76.71 recoveries by Inter Milan. Additionally, the hosts and the visitors give up a similar number of fouls per match.
Mehdi Taremi has excelled in leading Porto from the front and can prove the difference for the hosts in the second leg. The Iranian star is Porto’s top contributor in the UEFA Champions League with five goals and two assists. He attempts 3.11 shots per match with 52.6% accuracy. The hosts will be expecting some magic from their main man to keep their Champions League campaign alive.
Inter Milan will be counting on Lautaro Martinez to display his attacking prowess on the night. He is the team’s top scorer in the domestic league, and so far he has only scored once along with two assists in the Champions League. The Argentine takes 2.08 shots per match (15.4% accuracy), and the Porto defence will have the task of containing his threats.
Even though Porto’s injury woes have eased considerably, Evanilson, Gabriel Veron, and Galeno are ruled out for the hosts. Otavio will also have to sit out the suspension.
One exclusion from the Inter Milan squad could be Robin Gosens due to a leg injury. Milan Skriniar could also miss out due to a back problem, but Joaquin Correa could serve as a returning option.
With a spot in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals at stake, the second leg between Porto and Inter Milan will be an interesting matchup to glance at. The Liga Portugal side has their task cut out to progress and will have the support of the Porto faithful. Despite holding the advantage, Inter Milan will need to put in a commendable performance as their European ambitions are up against a tough contest away from home.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine