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Dragons are leaders before the hardest pitch

Unbeaten in the league, FC Porto faces Sporting away on Sunday (19h15), aiming at the best start of the century

FC Porto arrives as undefeated leader, with a perfect record in Liga NOS (seven victories in seven matches), at Estádio de Alvalade, where the team plays this Sunday (19h15) for matchday eight, with live broadcast on Sport TV 1. The home of Sporting (second place, two points less, also without defeats) is the most complicated in the history of the competition for the Dragons, at least if you look only at the number of defeats (45). The match will be previewed on Porto Canal, starting at 17h00, and can then be followed live on the official FC Porto app, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. After the final whistle, the match will be analysed by Porto Canal and will have the report and statements of the coach and players.

The home of Sporting (considering, of course, all those previous to the current José Alvalade) is one of only two stadiums in the current Liga NOS (and of the usual teams) where the Dragons don’t have a majority of victories in the history of the competition. Facing the Lions, the record is at 19 victories, 19 ties and 45 defeats (20 victories, 30 ties and 56 defeats in all competitions), while with the neighbour Benfica there is a balance of 15 victories, 26 ties and 42 defeats. FC Porto will thus look for a round number: victory number 20.

This is something that hasn’t been achieved since 2008/09 (2-1 victory for the blue and whites, with the goals being scored by Lisandro López, Bruno Alves and João Moutinho, then playing for Sporting) - however, if you look at the results in Alvalade in the last 30 years (since 1988/89), FC Porto is in the lead, with 11-10 in victories. Looking at the overall history of these matches, FC Porto and Sporting are interestingly matched (81 victories for each club and 63 ties). This Sunday, the 226th match between the two teams will take place, with the first ever match having been played in the distant season of 1920/21.

In a season in which the match Sporting-FC Porto coincides with elections for Municipalities, it should be said that both teams are having a start of the season to remember. FC Porto won every match so far, which is already the best start of the decade, and is now pursuing the eighth consecutive victory, which would allow them to match the record of the century (obtained in 2007/08, then with Jesualdo Ferreira as coach). The best record ever is at 13 victories in a row, reached a long time ago, in season 1939/40. As for Sporting, to look at a better streak than six victories and one tie in the first seven matches, you have to go back to 1990/91, when the team from Lisbon, led by Marinho Peres, won the first 11 matches.

At the press conference that launched the match, which will be refereed by Carlos Xistra, Sérgio Conceição returned to Tuesday's win in Monaco for the Champions League, and admitted that “winning would be very important”. “Sporting could be five points behind o matchday eight, and Benfica five or more depending on the match in Madeira,” the coach stated.

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