Buoyed by a rousing comeback win in Switzerland on Matchday 5, Porto have their qualifying fate in their own hands as they play host in their final Group G fixture to a Feyenoord side who, though bottom of the section, can still make it through to the knockout phase themselves.
• After losing their first two away games and picking up four points at home, Porto improved a perilous situation by coming from a goal down to beat Young Boys 2-1 in Berne with two late goals from Vincent Aboubakar – his first for the club in 14 months following a serious knee injury – and climb into second place in the table. Porto are now one point behind Rangers, who on the same night held Feyenoord 2-2 in Rotterdam, leaving the Dutch side bottom of the group and with an uphill task to reach the round of 32.
• Porto will guarantee qualification with a win, while a draw will also be good enough for a top-two spot if Young Boys do not beat Rangers in Glasgow. Feyenoord can only qualify if they beat Porto and Young Boys lose.
• Feyenoord’s only Group G victory came on Matchday 2 when they defeated Porto 2-0 in Rotterdam, Jens Toornstra and Rick Karsdorp both finding the net in the second half.
• The clubs’ only UEFA meetings prior to that came in the 1993/94 UEFA Champions League second round, Porto coming out on top 1-0 on aggregate after a 90th-minute Domingos goal won the first leg in Portugal – following Peter Bosz’s red card for the visitors – and the Rotterdam return finished goalless.
• Porto have an impressive home record against visiting teams from the Netherlands, winning five of their six matches, all without conceding, and drawing the other. It is 21 years, however, since they last hosted an Eredivisie side, beating Ajax 3-0 on Matchday 6 of the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League.
• Feyenoord’s away record against Portuguese opposition is the mirror image of Porto’s at home to Dutch clubs, with no wins, one draw and five defeats. However, with the exception of that 1993/94 reverse at Porto they have always found the net, scoring once in all of the other five fixtures, the most recent of them a 2-1 defeat at Sporting CP in the third round of the 2004/05 UEFA Cup – a tie they lost 4-2 on aggregate.
• Domestic runners-up in league and cup last season – to Benfica and Sporting respectively – Porto also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, where they were beaten by eventual winners Liverpool (0-2 a, 1-4 h).
• The Dragons’ bid to return to the UEFA Champions League group stage this term – for a record-equalling 24th time – ended in the third qualifying round when they lost on away goals to Russian debutants Krasnodar, winning the first leg in Russia 1-0 but losing the home return 2-3 after being three goals down at half-time. That defeat despatched them directly into the UEFA Europa League group stage, where they have competed just once before – in 2010/11, when they won the trophy.
• Since that 2010/11 triumph Porto have played 15 matches in the competition, winning just four and losing seven. Their UEFA Europa League group stage record, however, is W7 D2 L2, incorporating three wins and two draws in the five matches at home. This season they have beaten Young Boys (2-1) and drawn with Rangers (1-1) in the Estádio do Dragão.
• Dutch champions in 2016/17 and cup winners in 2017/18, Feyenoord finished third in the league last season to return to the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, where they were surprisingly eliminated in 2018/19 by Slovakian side Trenčín 5-1 on aggregate (0-4 a, 1-1 h).
• This season they reversed those scorelines (4-0 h, 1-1 a) to overcome Dinamo Tbilisi before seeing off Hapoel Beer Sheva in style in the play-offs with a pair of 3-0 victories. This is the club’s third appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage. They topped their section in 2014/15 but finished third in 2016/17 despite opening with a 1-0 home win against eventual winners Manchester United.
• Despite their play-off second-leg victory in Israel, Feyenoord have won just two of their last 23 European away fixtures (D4 L17), the other also by a 3-0 scoreline at Standard Liège in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League. Those are the only two games during that lengthy sequence in which the Rotterdammers have scored more than one goal, and they have drawn blanks in both of this season’s Group G away fixtures, going down 0-1 at Rangers and 0-2 at Young Boys.
Links and trivia
• Feyenoord defender Edgar Ié, although born in Guinea-Bissau, is a Portuguese international and came through the Sporting CP youth system before going on to play Liga football for Lisbon rivals Belenenses.
• Jesús Corona joined Porto in 2015 from Twente, where his team-mates included current Feyenoord players Nick Marsman and Renato Tapia.
• Porto are one of three clubs to have won the UEFA Europa League on their debut appearance, the others being Atlético Madrid in the inaugural 2009/10 competition and Chelsea in 2012/13. They are also one of three former UEFA Europa League winners in this season’s group stage, along with Sevilla and Manchester United, both of whom have already booked their qualification for the knockout phase.
• Rival coaches Sérgio Conceição and Dick Advocaat were in opposition on 30 April 2003 when a Portugal side featuring the former as a half-time substitute drew a friendly international in Eindhoven 1-1 against a Netherlands side coached by the latter.
• A Portuguese international winger of some repute who scored 12 goals in 56 appearances for his country including a memorable hat-trick against holders Germany in a 3-0 win at UEFA EURO 2000, Sérgio Conceição played for a variety of clubs, winning Serie A with Lazio and three Portuguese Liga titles in two spells with Porto, where he was appointed as head coach in June 2017, replacing Nuno Espírito Santo following a promising stint in France with Nantes. He led Porto to another league title in 2017/18 and the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals the following season.
• Dick Advocaat was appointed as the interim head coach of Feyenoord for the remainder of the 2019/20 season on 30 October following Stam’s resignation two days earlier. The 72-year-old is considered one of the Netherlands’ all-time great coaches having had three stints in charge of the national side, and has also been in charge of five other countries – the UAE, South Korea, Belgium, Russia and Serbia. At club level he is most closely associated with PSV Eindhoven, Rangers and Zenit, winning national championships with all three plus the UEFA Cup with the Russian club in 2008.