In the first part, Porto held strong until Ottavio was sent off with a straight red card in the 78th minute, an incident that helped a mini Romelou Loukakos revival, after scoring in the 86th minute to give between 1-0 win. With three goals in his last five appearances, Lukaku has more than doubled his goal output over the course of the season and is finally showing why Inter wanted him back despite the disappointing defeat. Spezia the manufacture.
Porto are not a team that usually stops at the front during games, but they should turn things around from a goal down. Porto’s games are physical affairs, which is why all four of their last matches have been red carded. Porto got two of them, so while it will have 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 will be easier said than done.
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How to watch and odds
Date: Tuesday, Mar. 14 | year: 4 p.m. ET
Location: Estadio Do Dragao — Porto, Portugal
TV: None | Live broadcast: Paramount+
Chance: Porto +160; Draw +235; Inter +165 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Selected game | Porto vs Inter
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Playing the first leg at home, Inter dominated the match but almost didn’t have much to show for it as they put just four of 18 shots on target. Before Porto’s red card, this was a match that could have 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 forwards to just 10 shots in the match.
Mehdi Taremi is who Porto look to when they need a goal, but he was limited to just 34 touches which he converted into three shots during the match. Without Ottavio, who has four goals and five assists in Portugal’s Liga this season, Taremi will be even more isolated than usual in a match where he will need to show his creative side.
Porto: Eight points back Benfica in the league and trying to fend off Braga to retain second place, Porto are in an interesting position at the moment. The club cannot afford to miss out on the Champions League next season but will also want to throw everything into the home game with a good chance of reaching the last eight.
The small matter is that if Porto fall behind early on, they will likely have their sights set on Sunday’s clash with Braga which could tip the balance in the league. An early goal will be crucial in the match. Along with not having Otavio available, Porto will still be without Gabriel Veron, Evanilsonand Galeno for the game.
Between: With the chance to become the second Italian team to punch their tickets to the last eight, all of Inter will be playing every card they have to win this match. Naples are running away with the league and despite a poor league performance of late, 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 had the club relatively focused on Champions League play.
Inzaghi will need to replace the injured Robin Goossenswhich he will probably see Federico Dimarco starts the match at left back. Dimarco is still present in most games for Inter this season as all full-backs rotate, but it will hurt the team’s depth if late changes have to be made to push for a goal.
Player to watch
Porto: Mehedi Taremi. With so many of Porto’s creative players missing from this match, Taremi will need to shoulder quite an attacking load. With 22 goals and 12 assists in all competitions it’s something he’s comfortable with, but he won’t have players available to give him extra space to shoot. If Porto fail to find two goals in this match, they will probably leave the Champions League and Taremi’s scoring is all that will find those goals.
Between: Romelou Loukakos. Lukaku has had a strange season since returning to Inter battling with fitness and a number of injuries, but until recently, he was the most effective striker in the squad.
Eden Dzeko has not scored or assisted in his last seven appearances, while Lautaro Martinez has missed chances at crucial moments. But when needed, Lukaku has put the ball in the back of the net when Inter need him. With goals coming at a premium against a strong Porto defence, Lukaku will again be needed as his movement can unlock a compressed defense when he is up for the game. Despite Lukaku’s limited minutes this season, he has been effective for Inter when available and will need him again in a crucial match.
Another close affair is in store as it will be a scrappy start to the match as neither team wants to concede first. But as tired legs set in, that will be enough for Inter to score a solo goal before defending to see out the rest of the game and punch their ticket to the last eight. CHOOSE: Porto 0, Inter 1