Malaga will welcome Porto to La Rosaleda in the second leg of Champions League play on Wednesday night. The Spanish side will need to come back from their 1-0 loss in Portugal if they are to continue their Cinderella run in Europe.
The first leg of this thrilling tie was quite disappointing for both sides.
Though Porto pulled off the win at home, the Portugal giants certainly did not capitalize on their chances. Porto was clearly the better side, but only scoring one goal could back to haunt them.
Malaga, on the other hand, disappointed greatly in their trip to Portugal. The Spanish outfit delivered very little offensively despite a strong and organized showing in defense.
When Porto clashes with Malaga on Wednesday, anything could happen.
Malaga started their season in a very impressive way, but only securing one win in their last five matches has fans worried. However, it is the lack of scoring that could cost the Spanish side.
In their last five matches, Malaga has only been able to score two goals. Los Boquerones have been held scoreless in three of their last four matches which must absolutely be fixed if they are to advance to the next round.
Malaga has to score at home if they are to have a change of overcoming Porto. But based on recent form, goals do not look likely for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
Porto, however, has been in immaculate form as of late.
The Portuguese giants have won four of their last five matches while suffering only one draw. Scoring has not been difficult for Porto with Jackson Martinez leading the way with 26 goals in all competitions.
With Porto in stellar form, this tie could be decided very early on. But if Malaga play to the level that they have shown they possess, the Spanish side could pull off a shocking comeback.
Perspective of the Players
After the first meeting between these two clubs, Porto's Joao Moutinho made it known that his team should have scored more goals. The midfielder knew that Porto deserved to score more, which could cost the Portuguese side.
However, those in Malaga carry a very different view on the first leg.
Manuel Pellegrini has been clear on his opinion that Porto’s lone goal should not have counted (via Goal). But stars such as Isco have also voiced their displeasure on the outcome in the first encounter.
The Spanish midfielder stated in an interview with Goal, “We [Malaga] couldn’t enjoy the ball and they made it very difficult for us at every moment.” It is clear that if Malaga plays the same way at home, they will not be seeing the next round.
Moutinho has been the latest player to speak out ahead of the second leg. The midfielder has said that Porto is looking to win the Champions League meaning that they will not let Malaga stand in their way (via Goal).
The players are clearly ready to clash in Malaga, but fans should expect the unexpected.
Making predictions in football is always a nearly impossible thing to do. So many things could happen that fans can never know what to expect. But based on recent form and matchups alone, Porto clearly holds the upper hand entering La Rosaleda.
Malaga’s lack of scoring will be their biggest issue. Isco has been their leading scorer so far this season with 10 goals. However, the midfielder is not able to singlehandedly carry Malaga to the next round.
Martin Demichelis will lead Malaga’s backline at La Rosaleda as their defense has been one of the strongest in Europe this year. But Los Boquerones will have their hands full trying to hold the Porto attack.
James Rodriquez and Jackson Martinez will make things very tough for Malaga. The duo has accounted for nearly 40 of Porto’s goals this season and should find the back of the net at La Rosaleda.
At the end of the day, Porto should walk away convincing winners. Malaga will not be able to score enough to topple the Portuguese giants; however, they will place the most pressure on the shoulders of their defenders.
Final prediction: Malaga 0-2 Porto
How will the match play out in Malaga? Who will steal the show and which club will go through to the next round? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Malaga, La Liga and the Champions League.