It smells of Christmas and New Year, it smells of traditions, and there two traditions that FC Porto has been keeping in this second decade of the 21st century: play at home and win the last match of the year for the championship. On Monday (21h00, Sport TV), the opponent is Marítimo, who, in 2011 also played this last match for the League at Estádio do Dragão, where they were defeated 2-0, with goals by Cristián Rodríguez and Nicolás Otamendi.
Last year, Paços de Ferreira was the stage of the only match for the championship that the blue and whites played away from home this decade, before the holiday stop, having won 3-0. In 2012, the victim was Moreirense, defeated by 1-0 at Estádio do Dragão, which was the stage the following two years for 4-0 victories, against Olhanense and Vitória de Setúbal. Académica and Desportivo de Chaves were the opponents in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and they also lost - the students 3-1 and Chaves 2-1.
Marítimo is the next team to try to counter this home trend of the Dragons, but, in 37 matches for the League, the best they could do was two ties: 1-1 in 1980/81 and 0-0 in 2008/09. However, they come to this match moralized not only by the fifth place in the table, but also because the team from Madeira hasn’t lost in almost two months - the last defeat came on October 21, in Setúbal, against Vitória (1-3 ), where FC Porto won in the previous matchday of the League (5-0).
“Marítimo has been having a great season, especially after the new coach [Daniel Ramos] came in. They have an effective defensive organization and only conceded one more goal than Benfica and Sporting, for example. But Marítimo isn’t just that. We know we will have to take on the match because we want to get three more points”, Sérgio Conceição stated at the press conference.
Matchday 15, the last for Liga NOS this year, will be previewed by Porto Canal starting at 20h00, and can be followed live on Facebook, Twitter, and the official FC Porto app. In the end, the match will be analysed by Porto Canal and www.fcporto.pt will have the report and statements of the coach and players.
Tickets are still available at the usual locations. Until last Friday, more than 35,000 tickets had already been sold for the second of three consecutive games at Estádio do Dragão, as, on Thursday, FC Porto will face Rio Ave (21h15) for the League Cup - tickets are already available.