In a highly anticipated Champions League clash on Tuesday night, Barcelona is set to face Porto at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, where the top two teams in Group H will vie for supremacy.
Barcelona currently leads the group with nine points, sharing the top spot with Porto. Notably, Shakhtar Donetsk closely trails in third place, merely three points behind the leaders. The dynamics of the group could have been different if Barcelona had managed to defeat Shakhtar on November 7. Unfortunately, a 1-0 victory for the Ukrainian side added significant pressure on the La Liga leaders.
Xavi’s squad, while leading Group H, finds themselves in a precarious position with both Porto and Shakhtar hot on their heels, just two points behind. All three teams are level on points, adding an extra layer of intensity to the upcoming fixture.
A victory for Barcelona on Tuesday would secure their place in the Champions League Round of 16. Alternatively, a draw would be sufficient if Shakhtar fails to triumph over Royal Antwerp in the parallel match. However, a loss for Barcelona coupled with a Shakhtar win would create a three-way tie, leaving the Catalan side anxious until the final matchday on December 13, where they will conclude their group stage campaign against Antwerp.
Barcelona enters the match after a disheartening 1-1 draw in La Liga against Rayo Vallecano, currently placing them in fourth position. With only two wins in their last five games across all competitions, Xavi faces heightened pressure in the Champions League, having previously fallen short in guiding Barcelona to the knockout phase.
Porto, on the other hand, has been performing admirably in Group H, securing three wins out of four matches to accumulate nine points. A solid performance has positioned them in second place, and they have the opportunity to advance to the knockout phase with a favorable result against Barcelona.
In the group, Porto has already triumphed over Antwerp twice and secured a 3-1 victory against Shakhtar. However, their earlier defeat to Barcelona adds an element of unpredictability to the encounter.
Under the leadership of Sergio Conceicao, Porto enters the fixture on the back of three consecutive victories across various competitions, including a commanding 4-0 win over Montalegre in the Taca de Portugal and a 2-1 triumph over Vitoria Guimaraes in the league on November 11.
Porto’s recent history in the Champions League includes reaching the round of 16 in the previous season, where they faced eventual finalists Inter Milan, losing 1-0 on aggregate. With two previous triumphs in 1987 and 2004, Porto remains a formidable force in the competition, seeking to add another chapter to their storied European legacy.