Pepe

A guide to potential Champions League opponents FC Porto

Thursday 27 August 2020 10:19

Our look at Manchester United’s potential Pot One opponents in the Champions League has so far taken in European giants Bayern Munich, Juventus and PSG.

Today, it’s time to take a look at 1987 and 2004 European champions FC Porto, who have made it into the top seeds courtesy of winning the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

Here’s everything you need to know about the team they call the Dragons…

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

We’ve come up against Porto on eight previous occasions across four ties in Europe, winning three games, drawing three and losing two. The Dragons knocked United out of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977 with a thrilling 6-5 aggregate win, but the Reds got revenge 20 years later in the Champions League quarter-final, thanks to a 4-0 Old Trafford win that has gone down as one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s finest in continental competition. Future United boss Jose Mourinho was at the helm in 2004 as Porto famously knocked us out on the way to their second European title, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 35-yard howitzer to settle our last meeting – another Champions League quarter-final, 11 years ago.

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PLAYED FOR BOTH

United have strong links with rivals Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, but only three players have made first-team appearances for both the Reds and Porto, with Anderson having the biggest impact at Old Trafford after moving in 2007 and going on to win the Champions League the following season. Current right-back Diogo Dalot also made the transition from the Estadio Dragao to M16, while Radamel Falcao played for United in 2014/15, having previously helped Porto to the 2011 Europa League title. Saidy Janko, who played once for the Reds back in 2014, has been on Porto’s books since 2018 but is yet to appear in a competitive game in Portugal.

THEIR 2019/20 CAMPAIGN

Porto claimed a second Primeira Liga title in three years in July, defeating Sporting 2-0 to wrap up proceedings with two games to spare. The club from Portugal’s second city had trailed Benfica for much of the campaign, but a 3-2 home win over the Eagles in February helped close the gap and the pacesetters’ alarming spell either side of the lockdown – Benfica won just two of their following nine league matches – allowed Porto in to lift their 29th top-flight title. They then clinched a domestic double at the beginning of August, defeating Benfica 2-1 in the Taca de Portugal final in Coimbra.

Video
Watch highlights of our last meeting with Porto, including Ronaldo's wonder-goal.

WHO’S THE STAR?

The Dragons’ double success was very much a team effort: although they hit 109 goals in all competitions, no one managed more than Tiquinho Soares’s 19 and a further four players recorded double figures. Left-back Alex Telles was among them, hitting 11 in the league alone, as was striker Moussa Marega, who bravely left the field during a match in February after receiving racist abuse from members of the crowd at an away match. There’s a name in the Porto backline most readers will recognise: former Real Madrid central defender Pepe rejoined in January of last year, after over a decade away.

Porto manager Sergio Conceicao.

WHAT ABOUT THE MANAGER?

Former Lazio, Inter Milan and Parma midfielder Sergio Conceicao has been in charge at the Estadio Dragao since 2017, winning two league titles and a cup and helping Porto to a Champions League quarter-final in 2019, where they were knocked out by Liverpool. The 45-year-old, who was linked to a move to the Premier League last summer, has previously taken charge of Olhanense, Academica, Braga and Vitoria Guimaraes in his homeland, as well as French side Nantes.

Get ready for next season. Our 2020/21 home and away kits are available now from United Direct.

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