Porto v. Manchester United
Wednesday, 15 April, 2009
Estadio do Dragao
FC Porto drew 2-2 away with Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions League fixture last week to pick up two vital away goals.
In their Champions League campaign this season, Porto have won four, drawn three, and lost two, scoring 13 and conceding 12 goals in the process.
Porto will be without defender Jorge Fucile (ankle) for the match.
The 2-2 draw with Porto last week was Manchester United's sixth of their Champions League campaign this season, with the Red Devils winning three and drawing six so far, scoring 13 goals and conceding five in these matches.
Man Utd will welcome back Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand from injury if they feature in the match, as both players have been included in the squad that travelled to Portugal. Rafael and Anderson have also both been included, although they are still carrying minor injuries.
Manchester United have still not recovered fully from their recent downturn in form, with their apparent defensive weakness still on show.
The Red Devils have conceded 12 goals in all competitions since the beginning of March, which is a far cry from the form that saw United go over three months (Nov. 15, 2008 to Feb. 21, 2009) without conceding a single goal in the Premier League.
However, if Rio Ferdinand does return from injury for this match, he will likely bring the experience and skill needed to stabilise the Man U backline and prevent further breaches.
Even with a strengthened defensive line, Manchester United face a very daunting task ahead of them—they will need to score at least two away goals in order to defeat a Porto side that has never lost to an English team on their home soil.
Man Utd undoubtedly have the talent and the mentality to overcome any opposition, as they have proved time and time again, but whether they will be able to do so in their current situation is far from a certainty.
At the end of the day, United's fate is in their own hands in this match; the defending champions have the stronger of the two sides, and so it will be up to Sir Alex Ferguson's men to put in the performance necessary to rewrite yet another record and progress through to the semifinals in the face of a challenging opposition.