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Keeping the goal closed without losing sight of victory

FC Porto and Sporting face each other tonight, at Estádio do Dragão (20h30), for matchday 25 of Liga NOS

This Friday brings a classic to Estádio do Dragão (20h30, SportTV1), the last big match of 2017/18 at the home of the blue and whites, and the fourth of the season between FC Porto and Sporting. The match opposing Dragons and Lions, for matchday 25, will be previewed in Porto Canal, starting at 17h30, and can be followed live on Facebook, Twitter and the official FC Porto app. After the final whistle, the analysis of the match will be made in Porto Canal and will have the report and statements from the coach and players.

There is a common fact to all three matches played so far in 2017/18 between these two teams, all for three different competitions: Sporting was never able to score. The first match, on October 1, 2017, for matchday eight of Liga NOS, ended as it started: 0-0. On January 24, 2018, the match for the League Cup was only decided in penalty shootout. After the 90 minutes went by without goals, luck went to the team from Lisbon (4-3).

Dragons and Lions then faced each other again on February 7, at Estádio do Dragão, for the first leg of the semi-final of the Portuguese Cup. The third time was a charm and FC Porto finally beat Sporting, 1-0, with the single goal being scored by Soares (60m), who will be out of tonight’s match due to injury. For the third time, the blue and whites kept their goal shut and will be going in the lead for the second leg, which will be played in April, in Alvalade, for the fifth and final duel this season.

But the path set by FC Porto wasn’t made of simple defensive merit, as the Dragons got to this match with 103 goals scored for all competitions, a feat beaten in Europe only by PSG and Manchester City. For the championship, FC Porto has the best attack (66 goals scored) and the best defence (12 goals conceded), numbers that reinforce the blue and white lead over Liga NOS, with five more points than Benfica and Sporting, at the start of this matchday 25. Adding to this, FC Porto is the only team that has yet to lose for domestic competitions.

At the preview for this classic match, which is expected to be sold-out, Sérgio Conceição stated that the match is “important, but not decisive”.

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