Home » Europa League, Europe, Latest » EL Match Preview: Porto vs Man City

Manchester City will look to keep their last hope of European success this season alive when they travel to Porto in the Europa League on Thursday evening.

City enter the tournament at the round of 32 having crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stage, along with local rivals Manchester United.

A tough draw has paired them with last year’s Treble-winners Porto, who host Roberto Mancini’s men at the Estadio do Dragao in the first leg of the tie.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas departed Porto forChelsea after unprecedented success with the Dragons last season.

While his successor, Vitor Pereira, failed to keep Porto in Europe’s top club competition, they are still contenders for a second successive league trophy, currently sitting second in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

City, meanwhile, travel to Portugal boasting top spot in the Premier League and are two points clear of nearest rivals United having enjoyed storming domestic form this season.

The clash will mark the first time the two sides have been paired in UEFA competition, while City’s only previous meeting with Portuguese opponents saw them beat Academica de Coimbra 1-0 after extra-time in the quarter-finals of the 1969/70 Cup Winners’ cup.

Manager Mancini is anticipating a tough encounter against the reigning champions.

“We’re playing Porto, a team used to playing in the Champions League; it’s going to be very difficult here,” he said.

“Usually it’s better to play the first game away but in this instance that doesn’t apply because both matches will be unpredictable.

“Porto have very good players; their wingers are very quick, they defend well – they’re certainly one of the best teams in Europe.”

Manchester City welcome back midfielder Yaya Toure and defender Kolo Toure for the clash.

The brothers, who have been playing in the Africa Cup of Nations, linked up with the City squad in Portugal on Wednesday night.

Striker Mario Balotelli is also in contention after serving a domestic suspension but fellow forward Carlos Tevez, back from his self-imposed exile in Argentina, is not registered to play.

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