Porto - Paris Saint-Germain Preview: Ancelotti's side aiming to pass tricky test, as Vitor Pereira's team lie in wait
Group A's top two clubs face off at the Estadio do Dragao, with the visitors arriving in fine form, but will be wary of the threat the Portuguese giants pose
By Mohammed Ali
M Lopes, Otamendi, Maicon, Alex Sandro
Varela, Martinez, James Rodriguez
Jallet, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell
Chantome, Verratti, Matuidi
Porto coach Vitor Pereira will be unlikely to ring the changes for Wednesday's visit of Paris Saint-Germain to the Estadio do Dragao.
The Portuguese giants are set to welcome back Silvestre Varela to the starting line-up, replacing Christian Atsu who featured in the 2-2 draw against Rio Ave at the weekend. Rolando is available, having completed a one-match ban, incurred in the 4-0 defeat to Manchester City in last season's Europa League.
Former Marseille midfielder Lucho Gonzalez is a familiar face, and foe for the visitors, having scored twice in six games against Carlo Ancelotti's side.
Paris Saint-Germain, meanwhile, will be boosted by the return of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Clement Chantome for the trip to northern Portugal. Chantome was suspended in the 2-0 victory over Sochaux at the weekend, whilst the Argentine international returns from a 10-day lay-off.
Jeremy Menez is also in line for a return, having sat out the weekend victory, but Ancelotti is likely to keep changes to a minimum, with one eye on the Ligue 1 clash against fierce rivals Marseille at the weekend.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Porto beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in Croatia on Matchday 1, with Lucho Gonzalez (pictured right) scoring in his 50th Champions League appearance, hours after his father passed away.
- Lucho also maintained his record of scoring in eight consecutive Champions League seasons
- The Portuguese side met with PSG in the group stage of the 2004-05 campaign, with a famous scissor-kick by Charles Edouard Coridon earning the French side a 2-0 win in Paris, with the return ending 0-0.
- Porto beat French sides Marseille, Lyon and subsequently Monaco in the final en route to their 2004 Champions League victory.
- Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Dinamo Kiev 4-1 on Matchday 1, with Thiago Silva scoring on his debut.
- Silva initially signed for Porto back in 2004, but only managed one reserve game.
- The visitors' record in Portugal reads one win in five, beating Braga in the Europa League in 2009, but losing to Benfica in their most recent visit to the country.
- Thiago Silva (PSG), Alex Sandro and Danilo (FC Porto) earned Brazil a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
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Top 3 Predictions
Porto 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain
- 18.44 %
Porto 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain
- 11.92 %
Porto 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain
- 11.36 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Dec 4, 2012||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Porto 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 3, 2012||Porto 1 - Paris Saint-Germain 0|
|Dec 7, 2013||Porto 2 - Sporting Braga 0||POR1|
|Nov 30, 2013||Academica Coimba 1 - Porto 0||POR1|
|Nov 26, 2013||Porto 1 - Austria Wien 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Porto 1 - CD Nacional 1||POR1|
|Nov 6, 2013||Zenit Saint Petersburg 1 - Porto 1||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 5 - FC Sochaux 0||FRA1|
|Dec 4, 2013||Evian Thonon Gaillard 2 - Paris Saint-Germain 0||FRA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 4 - Olympique Lyonnais 0||FRA1|
|Nov 27, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Olympiakos Piraeus 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Stade de Reims 0 - Paris Saint-Germain 3||FRA1|
|4||Maicon Pereira Roque||Defender|
|-||Christian Twasam Atsu||Striker|
|23||Gregory van der Wiel||Defender|
The Porto captain returned to the club in January after a stellar two and a half years in Ligue 1 with Olympique de Marseille, and the Argentine international will be no stranger to the threat the visitors pose. Lucho starred in L'OM's 3-0 win over PSG last season, and is a player who can over-run the midfield with his accurate passing style and creativity. Will need to be kept quiet if Ancelotti's side are to come away with a result.
Jallet will have a tough time marshalling Porto's pacy front three. The right-back has looked particularly assured and competent on the right-flank, and also contributing to the attack with a number of timed runs and fantastic position play, as was highlighted at the weekend. Jallet could prove to be one of the key players on Wednesday.
A tough examination for Paris Saint-Germain, but exactly the sort of match in which they can finally come good on their 'dark horses' tag in this season's competition. Porto are generally a formidable side at home, even after the departure of talisman Hulk, but I think PSG will sneak it. Tough match in prospect on Wednesday.