Beşiktaş plays Porto to grab top spot in Champions League group
Turkish champion Beşiktaş is on the cusp of the last 16 and a draw will be enough to secure top spot in Group G when it hosts Porto at Vodafone Park on Nov. 21.
Beşiktaş, which was 3-1 winner in Portugal the first game day of the group, has 10 points, four above its second-placed opponent. Even if loses at home, the team will go through if third-placed RB Leipzig does not win away to bottom side Monaco.
Porto, on the other hand, has a tougher path to the next round and it will advance if it wins and Leipzig cannot.
The Turkish team has never won at home to Portuguese opposition, with the record two draws and three losses, but its recent home form is another story.
Buoyed by the magnificent support of its fans at its new home that opened its doors in April, 2016, Beşiktaş has not lost a league or European game at Vodafone Park, including five Champions League games and three Europa League games.
Under coach Şenol Güneş, Beşiktaş has played 22 games on the European stage and has not lost in 11 games it has played at home.
Güneş opted to start Nov. 17’s league game against Akhisarspor with regular starters Cenk Tosun, Ryan Babel and Oğuzhan Özyakup on the bench, and fielded them in the second half, but failed to fire up his side in a goalless draw.
Tosun, who has been caught on the European giants’ radar after scoring four goals in four games this season, will be Güneş’s biggest gun against the Portuguese opponent, with Babel and Özyakup also expected to be given their places in the starting line-up.
Portuguese defender Pepe, who had played every minute of Beşiktaş’s league campaign before suffering a foot injury on international duty, missed the game against Akhisar, but is back in full training and expected to start against Porto.
Also in the Champions League on Nov. 21, Tottenham travels to Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid visits APOEL in Group H.
After its famous 3-1 win over the holder at Wembley last time out, Spurs just has to match Real Madrid’s result the first place.
Zinedine Zidane’s Spanish champion will qualify with a win over Greek Cypriot APOEL, and with a point if struggling Dortmund fails to see off Tottenham.
A pair of draws against the Germans have kept APOEL’s slim chances alive, but the club will be out if it cannot pull off a shock win over Real.
In Group F, Serie A leader Napoli hosts Shakhtar needing to win and score at least two goals to keep its hopes alive.
The Italian side lost 2-1 in Ukraine in the reverse fixture, so needs to level its head-to-head record with Shakhtar to take the group to a final matchday.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will wrap up top spot in the group with a home win over pointless Feyenoord, or with a draw if Shakhtar loses in Naples.