In the first leg, Porto held strong until Otavio was sent off with a straight red card in the 78th minute, an incident that has helped lead to a mini Romelu Lukaku resurgence, after he scored in the 86th minute to give Inter the 1-0 win. With three goals in his last five appearances, Lukaku has more than doubled his goal output during the season and he’s finally showing why Inter wanted him back despite their disappointing loss to Spezia on Friday.
Porto isn’t a team that will usually get on the front foot during matches, but they’ll have to change things up down a goal. Porto games are physical affairs which is why their last four matches have all seen a red card given. Porto were on the receiving end of two of those, so while they’ll need to be physical, it will have to be within reason. It’s certainly a deficit that can be overturned but if Inter are allowed to control the game, that’ll be easier said than done.
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How to watch and odds
Date: Tuesday, Mar. 14 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: Estadio Do Dragao — Porto, Portugal
TV: None | Live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Porto +160; Draw +235; Inter +165 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Porto vs. Inter
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Playing the first leg at home, Inter dominated the match but came close to not having much to show for it due to only putting four of 18 shots on target. Before Porto’s red card, this was a match that could’ve gone either way and even Lukaku waited until the 86th minute to finally put Inter ahead. Despite Inter’s struggles, their defense came to play, limiting Porto’s attackers to only 10 shots in the match.
Mehedi Taremi is who Porto looks to when a goal is needed but he was limited to only 34 touches which he turned into three shots during the match. Without Otavio, who has four goals and five assists in Liga Portugal this season, Taremi will be even more isolated than usual in a match where he’ll need to show his creative side.
Porto: Eight points behind Benfica in the league and trying to stave off Braga to keep hold of second place, Porto are in an interesting place at the moment. The club can’t afford to miss out on Champions League next season, but they’ll also want to throw everything into the match at home with a good chance to land in the last eight.
The slight issue is that if Porto go behind early, they’ll likely have an eye on Sunday’s clash with Braga which could upset the balance in the league. An early goal will be critical in the match. Along with not having Otavio available, Porto will still be without Gabriel Veron, Evanilson, and Galeno for the match.
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Inter: With a chance to become the second Italian side to punch their tickets to the last eight, all of Inter are going to play every card they have to win this match. Napoli are running away with the league and despite a poor league performance lately, Inter remain comfortably in second place, albeit 18 points behind first. Losses to Bologna and Spezia show that Inter are more than capable of Jekyll and Hyde performances, but Simone Inzaghi has had the club relatively focused in Champions League play.
Inzaghi will need to replace the injured Robin Gosens, which will likely see Federico Dimarco start the match at left back. Dimarco has still been present in most matches for Inter this season, since all of the wing backs rotate, but it will hurt the team’s depth if changes need to be made late to push for a goal.
Player to watch
Porto: Mehedi Taremi. With so many of Porto’s creative players missing this match, Taremi will need to shoulder quite an attacking load. With 22 goals and 12 assists in all competitions it’s something that he’s comfortable doing, but he won’t have players available to provide him with additional space to shoot. If Porto can’t find two goals in this match, they’ll likely be heading out of Champions League action and Taremi scoring is the only wat that they’ll find those goals.
Inter: Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku has had a strange season since returning to Inter struggling with fitness and picking up multiple injuries but as of late, he has been the most effective striker on the team.
Eden Dzeko hasn’t scored or assisted in his last seven appearances while Lautaro Martinez has missed chances in critical moments. But when needed, Lukaku has put the ball in the back of the net when Inter has needed him to. With goals coming at a premium against a strong Porto defense, Lukaku will again be needed as his movement can unlock a compressed defense when he’s up for the game. Despite Lukaku’s limited minutes this season, he has been effective for Inter when available and they’ll need him yet again in a critical match.
Another close affair is in store as it will be a cagy start to the match since neither team wants to concede first. But as tired legs set in, that’ll be just enough for Inter to score a solo goal before defending to see out the remainder of the match and punching their ticket to the last eight. PICK: Porto 0, Inter 1