In a tight Group G the task for Fenerbahce and FC Porto is clear: Porto know a win in Istanbul will take them through to the next stage unless FC Dynamo Kyiv win away to Arsenal. Meanwhile, anything less than a victory would end the turkish side’s chances of anything but a UEFA Cup berth.
Fenerbahçe coach Luis Aragonés is hoping the fervent home support at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium will help his side tonight.
“Porto are powerful opponents and we must respect them as we do all teams, but the thing we must do is win this match,” Aragonés said.
“We have no other thoughts than this. We will take advantage of playing at our own stadium, in front of our deeply passionate fans. My players are more determined when they have the support of the fans. Of course I would like Porto to underperform. From the moment we enter the pitch, we’ll look for a goal.”
Fenerbahçe have managed only three goals in their four group games, yet Aragones cites their domestic form as a source for optimism.
“We are only one goal behind Galatasaraywho have scored 25 in the league,” the former Spain boss said. “I think this statistic answers the criticism. Teams score and concede goals together. Therefore you cannot blame only the defenders when you let in goals, and you cannot just blame the strikers when you don’t score goals.”
Aragones will be without the suspended duo Lugano and Selcuk Sahin who were booked in the 0-0 draw at Arsenal on Matchday 4. Yasin Cakmak should come in for Lugano while Daniel Guiza is likely to be a lone frontrunner given Semih Senturk’s knee injury.
For the Portuguese champions, the sole injury concern is right-back Cristian SApunaru, out with a thigh problem, meaning a start for Fucile.
“It’s crucial to play attacking football,” said coach Jesualdo Ferreira. “Unless you play this way, it isn’t easy to score goals. But using just one strategy will not bring guaranteed success. Therefore I have a flexible game plan. We have different strategies for different situations.
“It is too early to talk about the final or any other round before the Fenerbahçe match is played.
“I have spoken very little of late and I am waiting till after this game before I do. We are in second place which is a strong position, but it doesn’t mean anything yet.”
Of the hosts, he added: “They have good and experienced players. While we have a young squad in comparison, we are used to playing top-level matches. Our aim is to get at least one point here. This is a winner-takes-all game.”