FC Krasnodar – FC Porto: Porto Far From Their Best, Yet Take A Deserved Lead Home (0-1)

Although not at their best in their first official game of the 2019/20 season, FC Porto and their pressing and counterpressing style still proved to be an adequate antidote to Krasnodar’s possession game. Ironically, the winning goal was found during their worst period.

Tactical analysis and match report by Sergio Sampaio.

Playing such a crucial game this early in the season is far from ideal. For any team participating in the Champions League Qualifying Rounds, the difference between making it to the group stage, with all the prize money that comes with it, and failing to do so, can massively impact a club’s short term future. 

For FC Porto, a team used to make the Champions League every year, it is an even more uncomfortable situation, as there is already considerable pressure not to fail. It’s a situation they brought onto themselves, as Sérgio Conceição admitted in the pre-match press conference, as his team blew a seemingly comfortable lead in the league last season, finishing behind Benfica. 

This “punishment”, however, would not have happened not that long ago, as Portugal were in the top six of the UEFA Country Ranking for six years. As a result, they got to send two teams directly into the group stage and a third to the qualifiers. They lost that status two years ago after being overtaken by… Russia. Portugal have hopes of retaking that extra Champions League spot from Russia this season, meaning this already crucial game gained even more significance.

Krasnodar are debutants in this competition. Founded in 2008 by the billionaire who owns Russia’s largest retailer, they are arguably the most interesting project in Russian football . . .

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Sérgio Sampaio (30) is an amateur football analyst and author of the blog Segundo Volante (segundovolante.com). You can find him watching, and perhaps writing about, all kinds of football: more likely to watch an Europa League qualifier in the summer than friendlies, only to then complain about the quality of the game. He abandons reason when it comes to believing FC Famalicão will play European football in his lifetime. [ View all posts ]

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