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Porto vs. Villarreal: Match Preview

Porto's Freddy Guarin


Portuguese champions FC Porto take a 12-game unbeaten run up against Spanish side Villarreal in the semi-final of the Europa League; a competition that both sides strongly feel they could win.

Porto, managed by rising star André Villas Boas, last suffered defeat back on 23rd February in this very competition. A 1-0 home defeat to Sevilla did not stop them progressing via the away goals rule, and start them off on a fantastic run of victories, and they remain undefeated in the domestic campaign.

They are the competition's top scorers with an impressive 29 goals since the start of the group stage. Falcao (12 goals), Hulk (seven goals) and Guarín (four goals) remain the key men in the tie, with defenders Rolando and Fucile providing stability at the back.

As well as winning their last four European ties, ‘Super Dragões’ netted an astounding ten goals over both quarter finals against FC Spartak Moscow. However Villas Boas rejects any claim that either side have the edge in the tie.

“By this stage there is no such thing as favourites,” claimed the former Chelsea coach. “Both teams have equal chance of going through, so we'll just play our own game.”

“We have a great deal of respect for Villarreal.”

The Spanish side are on a decent run of their own; seven wins and one draw from their last eight games stemming back to November. Their Primera Division form has faltered slightly, with three losses from their last four games, as they lose ground on third-placed Valencia with five games remaining.

Villarreal are not short of attacking flair either; Rossi and Nilmar have totalled 28 goals between them so far this campaign, with 17 of those coming in Europe.

The Spanish stars make only their second appearance in a major European semi-final. Previously, they lost 1-0 over two legs to Arsenal in the Champions League semi final back in 2006.


All Competitions:

Porto: WWWWW (19 goals for, 8 against)
Villarreal: WLWWL (11 goals for, 10 against)

Europa League:

Porto: LWWWW (13 goals for, 6 against)
Villarreal: WWWWW (15 goals for, 6 against)

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