Thursday, May 23, 2024

Preview: Porto vs. Vitoria de Guimaraes – prediction, team news, lineups

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Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Taca de Portugal clash between Porto and Vitoria de Guimaraes, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Porto and Vitoria de Guimaraes will lock horns in the second leg of their Taca de Portugal semi-final tie at Estadio Do Dragao on Wednesday night.

The hosts are carrying a one-goal advantage into this match, and if they are able to maintain their lead, they will move on to face Sporting Lisbon in the grand final on May 26.

Match preview

© Reuters

After bowing out of the Champions League against Arsenal last month and with 15 points separating them from Sporting in the league standings, retaining the Taca de Portugal crown is now Porto’s only hope of securing silverware this season.

Os Dragoes took the advantage in a fiery first leg in the 52nd minute of the match when Nico Gonzalez picked out Pepe Aquino with a pinpoint cross, which he headed straight at Bruno Varela, who spilled the ball onto his upright and across the line.

While Sergio Conceicao‘s side are showing up as the bookmakers’ favourites heading into this contest, they will know that they cannot underestimate their Lisbon rivals, having faced them in the league four days after their first-leg cup victory and lost the match 2-1 at this venue.

They followed that up with another underwhelming performance last weekend, when they had to come from behind twice to salvage a point against Famalicao – a result that extended their current winless run in the Primeira Liga to three matches (W0 D1 L2).

A fair portion of Porto’s struggles of late can be attributed to their poor discipline, with the side having received four red cards in their last four matches in all competitions. They will need to address that point ahead of this match, or it will be very difficult to protect their advantage if they are reduced to 10 men or fewer in this one.

Vitoria Guimaraes' Tiago Silva celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 11, 2024© Reuters

Meanwhile, Vitoria de Guimaraes are featuring in the last four of the Taca de Portugal for the first time since the 2016-17 season when they went on to lift the trophy, beating Benfica 2-1 in the final.

Aside from this competition, Os Vimaranenses are having a solid season in the Primeira Liga as well, currently in fifth place and still in with an excellent chance of finishing in the top three, trailing Os Dragoes in third place by just two points after 29 games.

After beating Porto in gameweek 28, Vitoria played out a 1-1 draw agaisnt Farense last weekend, with Jorge Fernandes scoring the equaliser in stoppage time, which extended their unbeaten league run to six matches, including five wins and a draw.

On the road, Alvaro Pacheco‘s side are riding a three-match winning streak, scoring two or more goals in each of those games, and are unbeaten in their last five, dating back to a 1-0 defeat against Gil Vicente at the end of January.

With Porto, Braga and Vitoria all involved in a heated battle for third place in the league, winning this competition will likely be their main goal since doing so will allow them automatic entry into next season’s Europa League group stage.

Porto Taca de Portugal form:

Porto form (all competitions):

Vitoria de Guimaraes Taca de Portugal form:

Vitoria de Guimaraes form (all competitions):

Team News

Porto's Zaidu Sanusi is stretchered off after sustaining an injury on February 17, 2024© Reuters

Pepe and Evanilson will not feature on Wednesday night due to red card suspensions, which should mean that Ze Pedro and Otavio will form the central defensive partnership while Mehdi Taremi will lead the line.

In terms of injury absentees, Ivan Marcano and Zaidu Sanusi are likely to miss the remainder of the season with cruciate ligament tears, while Fabio Cardoso missed the last match with a muscle injury and is flagged as a doubt.

Ricardo Mangas picked up a knock against Porto in their league encounter earlier in the month and remains a doubt for this match after missing Vitoria’s 1-1 draw against Farense last week.

Mikel Villanueva returned to the bench for Os Vimaranenses last weekend after an extended period on the sidelines and will be in contention for a starting role in midweek, while long-term absentee Telmo Arcanjo is still unavailable with a knee injury.

Porto possible starting lineup:
Costa; Sanchez, Otavio, Pedro, Wendell; Gonzalez, Grujic; Conceicao, Pepe, Galeno; Taremi

Vitoria de Guimaraes possible starting lineup:
Varela; Ribeiro, Borevkovic, Fernandes; Gaspar, Handel; T. Silva, Mendes, Freitas; J. Silva, Cesar

SM words green background

We say: Porto 1-1 Vitoria de Guimaraes

While Porto are the favourites heading into this contest, they have not been at their best lately and are missing a few important players due to their poor disciplinary record. Vitoria will be full of belief after beating Os Dragoes at this venue less than a fortnight ago, and we feel they will avoid defeat here, but the hosts will be the ones to progress on aggregate.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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