Villarreal face mission impossible after squandering a one-goal lead to lose 5:1 at the Dragao, although the Yellow Submarine will try everything to at least win the second leg. Porto proved their title credentials by scoring five goals in the second half to make a giant step towards the Europa League final and there is no chance the Dragons will let a four-goal lead slip at El Madrigal.
End of the road for Villarreal
Before the season started Villarreal had two main objectives – to ensure Champions League qualification and reach the final stages of the Europa League. Juan Carlos Garrido’s side have already completed one of the goals and are very close to doing the same with the other one, but the likely elimination in the Europa League semi-finals is likely to leave a bad taste in the mouth. The Yellow Submarine started the first leg against Porto well and they even took the lead just before half-time, but Porto’s superior quality shone in the second part of the game and ensured Andre Villas-Boas’ side a huge advantage before the return leg. While the hosts now face a mountain to climb, there is no doubt they will attack the opponents from the off and try to keep the tie alive, but that could end up costing them dearly since Porto attackers will have a lot of space to exploit.
Marcos Senna has resumed full training and he could return to contention, while Carlos Marchena is back from a domestic ban. Angel Lopez and Gonzalo Rodriguez remain long-term casualties.
Porto continue to dazzle
There are absolutely no doubts that Porto are one of the best attacking sides in Europe, with their Europa League campaign the perfect proof. After narrowly eliminating Sevilla and CSKA Moscow, the Dragons have scored exactly five goals in every one of their next three Europa League games, with their second-half showing against Villarreal probably the highlight of the season. Radamel Falcao Garcia scored four magnificent goals at Dragao, while Hulk, Guarin, Cristian Rodriguez and Varela also threatened, and Villarreal defenders didn’t really have a solution to Porto’s amazing fire power. Even with four-goal advantage in their pockets, Porto are not a side that would defend at El Madrigal, mainly because they don’t really know how to play defensive football, so we can expect another free-scoring performance from the Dragons.
Apart from Kieszek and Mariano Gonzalez, Andre Villas-Boas will have full squad to choose from.
Villarreal have no choice but to attack from the off, which should come back to haunt them as Porto are lethal when afforded some space, as we could see in their last few showings. The Dragons are scoring goals for fun at the moment and the trend looks likely to continue.
Our prediction: Porto to score over 1.5 goals
Odds: 2.10 (11/10)