Porto v Malaga: Fortress Dragao makes Porto the pick

The Estadio do Dragao has been impenetrable this season

Christian Crowther casts his eye over the Champions League round-of-16 clash between Porto and Malaga, offering a few accompanying bets...

"Malaga represent the only team left in the Champions League not to have conceded a first-half goal. Porto meanwhile regularly click into gear after the break, with 11 of their last 17 goals coming in the second 45."
Best Bet: Back the half-time draw/full-time Porto win @ 5.04/1

Porto v Malaga, Tuesday 19:45, Sky Sports 2, Match Odds: Porto 1.845/6, Malaga 5.24/1, The Draw 3.711/4

When it comes to describing some of European football's less hospitable stadia, words such as cauldron and fortress are often bandied about a little too freely. However, when looking for ways to describe Porto's Estadio do Dragao, either term is perfectly apt.

The Portuguese champions are on a majestic run of 19 home games unbeaten in all competitions stretching back over a year. This streak includes three home victories in the Champions League group stage and nine wins from ten in the Portuguese Liga.

If this wasn't daunting enough for Champions League debutants Malaga, Porto's record against Spanish opposition in Europe's premier competition makes equally uncomfortable reading.

As Opta point out, Porto have not conceded defeat to Spanish clubs in their last seven Champions League games, with Real Madrid the last La Liga representatives to triumph over them way back in October 2003.

In fact, Porto are usually so strong at home that the only team to have prevailed at the Dragao in their last 11 Champions League knockout ties was Manchester United back in
2009 - a year in which the Red Devils made the final.

Despite their status as Champions League newbies, Manuel Pellegrini's Malaga are certainly no mugs - making up one of only four undefeated teams at this stage - but it's difficult to see them escaping this exceptionally tricky trip with that record still intact.

Half Time/Full Time

Malaga's thus far unbeaten status in the competition owes much, as Opta reveal, to the fact that they start so solidly. Los Boquerones represent the only team left in the Champions League not to have conceded a first-half goal. Porto meanwhile regularly click into gear after the break, with 11 of their last 17 goals coming in the second 45.

Porto to Win to Nil

Opta also enlighten us that, after their Group A opponents Paris St Germain, Vitor Pereira's Porto have the second best defensive record from the group stage. The Portuguese only conceded four goals across their six games and have only conceded once in the six matches prior to Malaga's visit.

Best Bet: Back the half-time draw/full-time Porto win @ 5.04/1
Other Recommended Bet: Back Porto to win to nil @ 2.982/1

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