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The UEFA Champions League is one of the premier football tournaments in the world and before the main tournament starts, there is a qualifying round to get through to decide the final 32 teams.
Porto come into this tie after stealing a late draw against their opponents Roma after they went down to 10 men. Porto were continuously attacked from the get go like we predicted for the first leg, due to the struggles of goalkeeping from Iker Casillas. 4 out of their 6 summer signings have been defensive ones in Layun, Felipe, Telles and Ze Manuel; but that hadn’t stopped them from conceding goals and being dominated for long periods of time until they conceded. They have a strong offensive unit led by Andre Silva who has scored in 5 out their last 6 friendly games and in their 3 competitive fixtures, 2 in the Portuguese league and one against Roma in the first leg.; and I expect him to find the back of the net again. Porto will rely on creativity of Andre Andre, Hector Perreira and Varela to create chances for their offensive unit. They have scored in all but one of their games so far this campaign and will be aiming to replicate similar scoring form in this tie.
Roma started out in a banging way and could have been further up in the lead if Dzeko, Salah and Perotti would have been more clinical in front of the net in the first half. They all showcased their great scoring form with a 4 goal rout of Udinese despite being quite for 65 minutes of the game. They have plenty of creativity from the midfield from Nainggolan, Strootman and Paredes. The problem for Roma will be with a lot of defensive issues coming into this encounter with Ruddier, Rui, Torosidis, and Abdullah Nura all out through injury while Vermaelen is suspended after getting sent off the opening encounter.
This game looks like the tie of the round as both teams will be looking to attack and try to score and progress to the first round proper, and after the performances from the first leg, you can expect it to be equally good again. I am backing both teams to score again.
Monaco come into this encounter at home against Villarreal after a strong showing away from home with a 2-1 victory. Monaco then followed their last victory against Villarreal with another solid 1-0 victory away from home against Nantes. The team is built well over last few years by Jardem and have a strong defensive unit. They look far more ready compared to their opponents after playing through the 2nd round qualifying as well as their opening 2 league games. Monaco have great creative midfielders in Moutinho and Bernardo Silva who can score as well as create chances for their forwards. They have scored in each one of their last 15 games, while only losing one game in that duration.
Villarreal are a team in disarray with their manager recently coming on-board in defensive minded coach Escriba with his last job seeing Getafe relegated. He has lot some critical players from their starting lineup in Alphonse Areola, Eric Bailly and Dennis Suarez in the off-season. Villarreal have numerous absentees with Costa, Bonera, Bakumbu, Dos Santos, Sansone and Soldado all missing from this fixture, which keeps them weaker. They looked far from being a team that can play in the Champions League when they lost at home to Monaco last week. They have played 8 friendlies, and won just 2 of them in 90 minutes, with 3 losses on the trot against Deportivo, Porto and Leganes. In competitive fixtures they lost to Monaco as well as their struggled to a 1-1 draw against Granada away from home on the weekend
I am backing Monaco to win at home while backing them on the draw no bet to secure myself, as Monaco can win this by just drawing the game.