Porto-Lazio, Sheriff-Braga in Europa League

It was a Champions League last-16 draw unlike any other. Lisbon duo Benfica and Sporting were originally paired against Real Madrid and Juventus respectively, but a technical error necessitated a re-draw. In the one that counted, Sporting landed English champions Manchester City, while Benfica were drawn against Dutch champions Ajax.  

In the Europa League, FC Porto have been drawn against Italian outfit Lazio, with whom Porto coach Sérgio Conceição enjoyed tremendous success in his playing days. To reach the last sixteen of the competition Braga must overcome Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol. 

 

Champions League draw

Sporting were the first Primeira Liga team to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League, but the Lions now face a daunting task in the shape of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The English side were only beaten in the final, in Porto, last time round, are the current EPL holders and are among the favourites to go all the way this year.

Sporting have qualified for the Champions League knockout stages for only the second time and are enjoying another fine season under their brilliant young manager Rúben Amorim, but this tie will undoubtedly be the biggest test of his fledgling career so far.

Benfica have been drawn against Ajax, who are enjoying a terrific season both domestically and in Europe. The Dutch side won all six of their Champions League group games and will make a quick return to Lisbon, having handed an injury-hit Sporting a chastening 5-1 defeat in September. 

Both Sporting and Benfica will play the first leg at home, travelling to Manchester and Amsterdam respectively for the decisive match.

 

 

Europa League draw

When the Europa League resumes in February it will be special occasion for FC Porto coach Sérgio Conceição. His Porto side take on Italian club Lazio, where Conceição enjoyed the most successful spell in his illustrious career, winning Serie A, the Italian Cup, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Super Cup in two memorable years in Rome.

It is also a repeat of one of Porto’s greatest European nights, the 4-1 victory over Lazio in the UEFA Cup semi-final in 2003; a key moment in launching José Mourinho’s Dragons on a non-stop sequence of triumphs.

Braga will play Moldovan outfit Sheriff Tiraspol. While Braga boss Carlos Carvalhal will be happy to have avoided the likes of Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, the Arsenalistas will be wary of the team from Moldova who accumulated 7 points in a tough Champions League group. 

Porto will play the first leg of their tie at home before travelling to Italy, while Braga first play in Moldova and will attempt to finish the job at the Quarry.

 

by Tom Kundert

 

Comments (4)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Juventus was a manageable draw but Manchester City is not, we did managed to beat them just after the destroyed Manchester United 6-1 those years back in the Europa League and we were written off then but this is another monster managed by a...

Juventus was a manageable draw but Manchester City is not, we did managed to beat them just after the destroyed Manchester United 6-1 those years back in the Europa League and we were written off then but this is another monster managed by a serious tactician, perhaps they will underestimate us because that's the only way I can see us beating them.

Benfica even though Ajax are a difficult team, I still place them slightly easier than Real Madrid.

Porto have a tricky side not doubt.

Braga have a team which aren't weak, they did manage to beat Real Madrid.

I feel like Porto have the most chance then Braga, Benfica and sadly Sporting. If it was Juventus I would have placed Sporting likely to go through but now its going to be a serious test for Ruben A.

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Joao
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Pretty good draw for our clubs , 3 out of the 4 teams have a great chance of progressing through to the quarters.

Gee Dee
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As a Benfica fan, I have to say I’m glad it is not Real. Ajax are a high quality team, but Benfica should be able to make it a fight…here’s to hoping Jorge Jesus doesn’t pull anything ‘brilliant’ out for this tie to lose it.

Tough luck for...

As a Benfica fan, I have to say I’m glad it is not Real. Ajax are a high quality team, but Benfica should be able to make it a fight…here’s to hoping Jorge Jesus doesn’t pull anything ‘brilliant’ out for this tie to lose it.

Tough luck for Sporting. Their chances against Juventus were most likely solid…Man City will be tough.

Lazio is a great team, but imo Porto are far greater and this is a tie where Porto are good favourites I think.

Lastly, Braga. They probably picked up the best case scenario…although that doesn’t mean Braga are favourites. I think Braga have been quite mediocre this season. Hopefully by the time this tie comes around they’ve picked things up by then…

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Nunogomes21
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Not much of a chance for Sporting. Pretty sad since they've knocked out Dortmund. City is one of the sides that can't be beaten by teams with significantly lower budgets; good chemistry, competent coach and world class players. Its interesting...

Not much of a chance for Sporting. Pretty sad since they've knocked out Dortmund. City is one of the sides that can't be beaten by teams with significantly lower budgets; good chemistry, competent coach and world class players. Its interesting whether Amorim will be able to mastermind a giant killing.

For Benfica there is a chance, it depends how the transfer window will go and whether Ajax gets to keep their key players. Ajax usually does well against 343 formations this season so not expecting Benfica to be allowed to play their game.

I think Porto has the quality to beat Lazio, however the question is how motivated are they to be competitive in Europa League, considering the money prize is so much lower there.

Braga have a much smaller team to overcome and although Sheriff can set up a brave defence, in a two legged encounter, Braga can definitely outplay them.

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Samuel
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