The lights of Estádio do Dragão will turn on tonight for the last time in 2017. At 21h15, FC Porto faces Rio Ave at home, for the first matchday of group D of the League Cup, with several challenges to beat: besides possibly defining the future in the competition, the Dragons may end 2017 without losing at home for national competitions.
So far, 24 matches have been played at Estádio do Dragão this year that about to end, with the Dragons reaching 18 victories, four ties and only two defeats. With a clean record in domestic competitions, these two defeats came in matches for the UEFA Champions League. The first, conceded last season, came at the hands of Juventus, for the first leg of the Round of 16 of the competition (0-2), while the second came this season, in the debut of group G, against Besiktas (1-3).
This year, the blue and whites scored 70 goals, achieving an average of 2.92 goals per match. On the other hand, only 19 goals were conceded, which means 0.79 per match. The big victories over Nacional (7-0) and Paços de Ferreira (6-1) helped increase these numbers.
As far as the League Cup is concerned, the Dragons start this match with one point in the group, the same as Rio Ave, after a 0-0 tie against Leixões. That tie, and the victory over Paços de Ferreira, allows the team from Matosinhos to lead the group, but they can be reached this matchday by either the Dragons or Rio Ave. It should be reminded that only the winner of the group qualifies to the semi-finals and that, in the event of a tie, the first tie-breaker is the difference between goals scored and goals conceded in the group stage.
The match will be previewed by Porto Canal starting at 20h15, and can be followed live on the official FC Porto app, and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. After the final whistle, the game will be analysed by Porto Canal and www.fcporto.pt will have the report and statements from the coach and players.