Monaco aim to bow out on a high

UEFA Champions League
06/12/2017

AS Monaco will look to sign off a disappointing UEFA Champions League campaign with a first win as they take on FC Porto in Portugal on Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

UEFA Champions League, Group G

FC Porto  -  AS Monaco

>> Live scoring from 20:45 CET

Semi-finalists last season, the reigning Ligue 1 Conforama champions have not been able to repeat their European form in this campaign. A 4-1 home loss to RB Leipzig on matchday five last month condemned them to finish bottom of Group G and left them with only pride to play for on this trip to the Estádio do Dragão for a rematch of the 2004 final.

Porto won that 3-0 and they also won 3-0 when they went to the Stade Louis II in September. Unbeaten in the Portuguese top flight, which they lead on goal difference from Sporting, Porto are also in position to progress to the last 16 for the second season running. They are currently second, level on points with Leipzig but above the Germans thanks to their superior head-to-head record. That means Sérgio Conceição's side need only match Leipzig's result at home to group winners Beşiktaş in order to advance.

Monaco have produced their best European performances this season away from home, in drawing 1-1 at both Leipzig and Beşiktaş. However, coach Leonardo Jardim is prioritising giving a run-out to some fringe players here, with the domestic front now the focus.

Sweeping changes

Danijel Subašić, Thomas Lemar, Youri Tielemans, Andrea Raggi and Stevan Jovetic were all left behind due to injury. Meanwhile, Djibril Sidibé, Jorge, Almamy Touré, Keita Baldé, Fabinho and former Porto duo Radamel Falcao and João Moutinho could all start on the bench. Step forward, then, the likes of Diego Benaglio, Soualiho Meité, Guido Carrillo and Kevin N'Doram. There could also be just a second top-team appearance for 21-year-old Cameroon-born defender Pierre-Daniel Nguinda.

"We will make five changes to our starting line-up and this fixture will give some of our young players a great opportunity to face a good team in this tournament," Jardim said at Tuesday's pre-game press conference.

Soualiho Meité (left) is one of those in contention to feature for Monaco

"Looking ahead, this European experience will help the guys in terms of giving them a feel for what nights like this are all about. João Moutinho and Falcao have won trophies in the past with Porto and I'm sure the supporters would like the opportunity to see them in action. But in order to find out if they feature, we will have to wait and see tomorrow."

Tradition

Monaco are going through a difficult spell and suffered three consecutive defeats in all competitions before scraping a 1-0 victory at home against Angers SCO at the weekend. Meanwhile, two-time European champions Porto drew 0-0 at home to SL Benfica in the clássico last Friday, stretching their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions.

"We are conscious of our history, and that we are a strong team, that we can win this game and advance to the knockout stage. We really want to progress. If we go through, it would be something like the 13th time we have qualified and that's fantastic for a club like ours with the tradition we have," said Conceição, the former FC Nantes coach.

Probable teams

Porto: José Sá; Ricardo Pereira, Felipe (c), Marcano, Telles; Corona, Herrera, Danilo Pereira, Brahimi; Marega, Aboubakar

Monaco: Benaglio; Nguinda, Glik (c), Jemerson, Kongolo; Ghezzal, Meité, N'Doram, Lopes; Carrillo, Diakhaby

>> UEFA Champions League fixtures/results








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