Krasnodar welcome FC Porto to the Krasnodar Stadium on Wednesday for a 6pm kick off in the third round of these Champions League qualifiers, with the two playing the first leg of the tie. Both teams are entering the qualifying phase for the first time this season and having enjoyed solid pre-seasons, as well as a solid start to the league campaign in the hosts’ case, everything is set up for a good game here.
Krasnodar started their league campaign away to FK Akhmat, who beat them by a solitary goal from Bernard Berisha just under half an hour in. Next up came another away game, this time versus FC Ufa and on this occasion, it was three points that they were returning with as they ran out 2-3 winners having come from 2-0 down. That brought some confidence back to the squad which was evident in their 3-0 thrashing of PFC Sochi through goals scored by Ignatyev and Suleymanov. Krasnodar’s last outing came in Zenit as they faced off against Zenit St. Petersburg and took one point from the affair.
Porto should be brimming with belief after a decent run in last season’s Champions League campaign, as well as a good pre-season under their belt. The first of those friendlies was against Championship side Fulham which finished 1-0 in their favour, with Otavio getting on the scoresheet just half an hour in. Following that came a penalty shootout victory over Real Betis as the pair drew 1-1 in normal time, and another fixture against a Spanish side, this time Getafe, also ended as a win with this one going their way 2-1. Unfortunately for Porto, they couldn’t finish pre-season undefeated as Monaco were victors in a 0-1 result during their final friendly.
Yuri Gazinskiy and Viktor Claesson won’t play any part on Wednesday night, unless Gazinskiy makes a quick recovery from his shoulder injury. We expect Krasnodar to line up quite defensively due to the attacking flair possessed by their visitors, with five in midfield looking likely. The number one should be Safonov, while Petrov and Spajic take up the full-back spots. At the heart of defence we could see Ramirez and Martynovich. On the flanks, viewers should look out for Remy Cabella and Ruslan Kambalov after the latter enjoyed a good performance at the weekend, with the two playing alongside Vilhena, Namli and Olsson. Up front, Ari may start as a lone striker.
Some injury worries for this one are Pepe, Mouandilmadji and Fabiano, with the trio all facing late fitness checks before the manager makes a definite decision. Danilo Pereira is expected to sit this one out due to personal reasons. Vana Alves and Marchesin are competing for a spot between the sticks, while Diogo Leite, Marcano, Alex telles and Saravia are likely to play in defense. Pereira should occupy the field just in front of the back four, with Bruno Costa and Oliveira in central midfield. To the right, Corona will support an attack of Aboubakar, Marega or Ze Luis.
As was expected, Porto are favourites for this one. The odds aren’t looking too shabby though, with the away side @ 2.40 to come out victorious compared to the hosts @ 2.80. We’re opting for Porto to win as our first bet of the day. Marega was incredible in the league last season and will be hoping to bring that form into this year’s Champions League having disappointed versus Liverpool before they exited the tournament, but if he’s on song Porto will win by a couple of goals. For this reason, we’re looking to Porto to win by two goals @ 6.50. With home advantage Krasnodar will hope to make it count, so we can definitely see them getting amongst the goalmouth action. Porto should overpower their opponents though and @ 3.75, Porto to win and BTTS is too good to turn down.