Thursday, 16 February 2012

City vs FC Porto: Match Preview

By Aaron Leggott

After Champions League elimination in December, both City and Porto face each other for the first ever time in Europe's secondary competition in the last 32 tie.

City's last and only meeting with Portugese opposition was on the route to our European Cup Winner's Cup victory in the 1969/70 season, almost 42 years ago, which higlights how far we have come in recent years.

Both sides faced different Champions League campaigns this season. Europa League holders Porto, who are currently facing life without Andre Villas Boas, were very much below par throughout the group stages, whilst City were very unlucky not to qualify from their group, even after making 10 points in an extremely difficult draw.

AVB's successor was coincidentally his assistant Vitor Pereira, as Porto hoped to emulate the success of last season. Whilst Pereira has done a good job for the Dragons, he has not been as successful as his predecessor, as Porto currently sit second in the Portugese Primeira Liga behind Benfica.

City's domestic form has also outshone Porto's current achievements, after a victory at Villa Park last weekend ensured top spot was secured for another week after local rivals Manchester United beat Liverpool to steal top spot temporarily.

And it gets better for Mancini and all connected with the club, as we welcome back both Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli. Toure was on the wrong side of a African Cup of Nations defeat last weekend, but he is hoping for no more upsets this season. Mario Balotelli is returning from a four match suspension after his alleged stamp on Scott Parker.

However, there will be no return yet for Carlos Tevez, who returned to the club on Tuesday, but is not registered to play in this competition.

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