FC Porto will be hoping to close the gap to the top of the 2020/21 Liga NOS table when they lock horns with Famalicao on Friday night.

As the Portuguese Primeira Liga enters the final phase of the 2020/21 campaign, reigning champions FC Porto will be hoping to keep their faint title hopes alive when they face off against Famalicao at Estadio do Dragao on Friday night in Matchweek 30.

Porto are currently second in the league table, six points off of leaders Sporting Lisbon. While they are unbeaten in their last five games across all competitions, Sergio Conceicao’s side were held to a 1-1 draw by Moreirense in their most recent fixture, which hurt their chances in the title race further. A win on Friday would help the Dragons put the league leaders under some pressure ahead of their game on Saturday night.

Famalicao, meanwhile, are coming into the game on the back of a 2-2 draw against Tondela that has left them just three points clear of the relegation playoff places and five above Farense in 17th. Ivo Vieira’s men have won just one of their last four games and will need to get a positive result at the home of the reigning champions to put further daylight between themselves and bottom three.

The reverse fixture, played in January earlier this year, ended in a 4-1 win for Porto with goals coming from Mehdi Taremi (2), Sergio Oliveira and Joao Mario, while Jhonata Robert scored the only goal for Famalicao. Ahead of their latest meeting on Friday, The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

FC Porto

Heading into the game, Sergio Conceicao is set to be without the services of Mouhamed Mbaye, while Zaidu Sanusi is also a doubt for the contest. Both Chancel Mbemba and Jesus Corona have stepped up their recovery though and could be in contention. Veteran defender Pepe misses out due to suspension for accumulation of cards.

Porto will set up in a 4-4-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin, with Mbemba likey to pair up with Diogo Leita at the heart of the Dragons’ defence. With Sanusi set to miss out, Wilson Manafa should get the nod at left-back yet again, meaning Nanu slots in as the right-back against Famalicao and look to make forward forays on a regular basis.

Sergio Oliveira and Mateus Uribe will be the two central midfielders for the reigning champions. The former will be in charge of providing the forward thrust from the centre while the latter will look to keep the opposition under check.

The threat from the wider areas should come Otavio and Luis Diaz, who will look to pump in the crosses for the two centre-forwards, who ought to be Moussa Marega and Mehdi Taremi. Jesus Corona and Toni Martinez will be additional attacking options from the bench for the home team.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Marchesin; Nanu, Mbemba, Leite, Manafa; Otavio, Uribe, Oliveira, Diaz; Taremi, Marega

Famalicao

Famalicao also have some injury issues hampering them ahead of the trip to Porto. The visitors are set to be without the services of Bruno Jordao along with Srdjan Babic while Ruben Vinagre is also a doubt for the contest. Ivo Vieira is likely to set his team up in a 4-1-4-1 formation in front of goalkeeper Luiz Junior.

Diogo Figueiras ought to be stationed on the right side of the visitors’ defence while Edwin Herrera should step in at left-back in case Vinagre is not passed fit to start. Both the full-backs are likely to sit deep and stay compact alongside the central defenders. The Brazilian duo of Patrick William and Riccieli should be the two centre-backs tasked with keeping Marega and Taremi quiet.

21-year-old club captain Gustavo Assuncao will be the sole holding midfielder, looking to stop Sergio Oliveira from impacting the game in the final third of the pitch. Pepe and Ivan Jaime should be the two attacking midfielders tasked with creating the chances in the final third.

Gil Dias, who is on loan from AS Monaco, should slot in on the left flank while Ivo Rodrigues, who was on the scoresheet in the last game against Tondela holds on to his place on the right. Leonardo Campana, who also scored in the 2-2 draw last time out should start as the centre-forward ahead of Anderson Silva.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Junior; Figueiras, Riccieli, William, Herrera; Assuncao; Rodrigues, Pepe, Jaime, Dias; Campana

Key Stats

  • Porto are undefeated in their last 23 matches in Liga NOS.
  • Anderson Silva is the top goalscorer for Famalicao in the Primeira Liga this season with six strikes to his name.
  • FC Porto’s home record this season reads P14 W10 D3 L1.
  • Famalicao, meanwhile, have won just five of their 14 league games on the road this term (D3 L6).
  • Porto have the best goalscoring record in Liga NOS this season, having found the back of the net on 58 occasions so far in 29 games.

Player to Watch

Mehdi Taremi

The 28-year-old has been one of Porto’s best players in his debut season for the club. In 43 games across all competitions, Taremi has produced an impressive return of 19 goals and 13 assists across all competitions, and is the leading the charts for goals as well as assists for the club in 2020/21. It was the Iranian international that rescued a point for the Dragons last time out against Moreirense, scoring a late penalty.

With just five games left to be played in the season, if Porto are to stay alive in the race for the league title, they will need their star striker to step up and deliver yet against when Famalicao come visiting this Friday.

Prediction

FC Porto 1-0 Famalicao

With not many games left in the season, Porto cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to keep their hopes of a title, however slim, alive. While Famalicao have had some positive results since Ivo Vieira took over last month, they haven’t been the best travellers and are coming into the game with just one win in four. That is why, The Hard Tackle is backing the champions to pick up a narrow win on Friday night and make it 24 games unbeaten in a row in the league.

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