Porto vs Shakhtar Donestk
Estadio do Dragao forms the backdrop for a ‘winner takes all’ Champions League Group H contest between Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Porto are one step away from reaching back-to-back Champions League knockouts twice in a row for the first time since a run of three between 2016/17 and 2018/19, but they’re not there yet. Locked on nine points with third-placed Shakhtar, the ‘Dragons’ boast a superior H2H record after a 3-1 win in the reverse fixture and only need to avoid defeat here to make it out of Group H. Except for a brace of one-goal defeats to Barcelona, Sergio Conceicao’s men have won their remaining three group stage matches this season, highlighting their confidence of preserving their near-perfect H2H record (W4, D3). However, Porto’s patch four-game form in all competitions (W2, L2) is a reason for concern, though an impressive 16-game run in the Champions League group stage games at Dragao (W11, D1, L4) promises another success.
In the meantime, Shakhtar Donetsk’s quest to advance to the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2017/18 needs to overcome one last hurdle. The Ukrainians must win this contest to leapfrog Porto into second, inspired by an eye-catching run of three competitive wins ‘to nil’ in the build-up to this encounter. Back-to-back 1-0 victories against Barcelona and Antwerp have reignited Shakhtar’s hopes of avoiding a sixth consecutive group stage elimination. But they still have to make it three on the trot to achieve that feat, with an underwhelming 21-game form in the Champions League groups (W5, D7, L9) underscoring the size of the task at hand. On a more positive note, they’ve not lost a European game on Portuguese soil for almost 12 years (W2, D2).