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Preview: Porto vs. Pacos de Ferreira - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Taca da Liga clash between Porto and Pacos de Ferreira, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fresh off the back of another cup victory in their latest unbeaten run, Porto are in Taca da Liga action on Wednesday night when they play host to Pacos de Ferreira at the Estadio Do Dragao.

The Portuguese giants are unbeaten in nine matches in all competitions, winning eight, whereas their opponents Pacos are simply looking to bring an end to a run of back-to-back defeats.


Match preview

Porto head coach Sergio Conceicao pictured on November 3, 2020© Reuters

Recovering from a sluggish start to the campaign, Porto are now flying high on the back of a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions, sealing their qualification to the Champions League knockout stages in the process.

After victories against Olympiacos in the Champions League and Tondela in the Taca de Portugal, Porto, third in Liga NOS, are hoping to make it three cup victories on the trot when Pacos arrive at their stadium.

The early stages of that tie with Tondela saw a glut of goals in the opening half-hour with the two teams tied after 20 minutes, only for the acrobatic striking abilities of Moussa Marega to seal a 2-1 victory for Porto shortly after Tondela equalised.

There was further joy for Porto on Monday when the Champions League draw paired them with Italian champions Juventus in the round of 16, with belief growing that they could beat the Old Lady of Turin.

Pacos de Ferreira head coach Pepa pictured in June 2020© Reuters

Sixth in Liga Nos, Pacos de Ferreira had been on a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions before slumping to defeat in dramatic circumstances in a league match away to Benfica 10 days ago.

The visitors stunningly took the lead when Oleg Reabciuk blasted in a volley from outside the box in the first half, only for a Benfica goal after the break to force Pacos to spend the match in retreat before an inevitable home winner came in the 94th minute of the contest.

Facing a gauntlet of traditional Portuguese powers, Sporting Lisbon were the next side to give Pacos a kicking, picking up a convincing 3-0 home win in the Taca de Portugal over the weekend.

With no previous victories in their last 18 visits to Porto, a trip against Sergio Conceicao's team is the last thing that Pacos need right now, having failed to win seven of their most recent nine away games in all competitions.

Porto form (all competitions): WWDWWW

Pacos de Ferreira form (all competitions): WWWWLL


Team News

Porto players celebrate scoring against Marseille in the Champions League on November 3, 2020© Reuters

Two defensive veterans will be missing for Porto with both Pepe and Ivan Marcano absent through injury, the former being a much more important member of the first team than the latter.

With the club's progress to the last 16 of the Champions League and the fixture overload that results from that success, Sergio Conceicao may decide to rotate his team for this match.

Pacos de Ferreira should be without significant absentees, the only players ruled out ahead of time being right-back Jorge Silva and left-back David Sualehe.

Porto possible starting lineup:
Costa; Mbemba, Sarr, Leite, Diaz; Mario, Baro, Grujic; Corona, Marega, Martinez

Pacos de Ferreira possible starting lineup:
Jordi; Baixinho, Marcelo, Fonseca, Reabciuk; Carlos, Diaby, Amaral; Eustaquio, Tanque, Uilton


SM words green background

We say: Porto 2-0 Pacos de Ferreira

Pacos de Ferreira recorded a league win over Porto last month, so their ability to step up to the challenge of a title contender should not be overlooked. Yet, the form of Porto coupled with the slump that Pacos have hit leaves us thinking that the home side will add to the woes of their guests.


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Monday's key events


ATHLETICS
· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

SAILING
· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

FOOTBALL
· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

CYCLING
· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

WEIGHTLIFTING
· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

HOCKEY
· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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