A 1-0 lead from a UEFA competition first leg on the road is not a significant advantage and that is why one thinks that Porto will go on with the job and beat Lille in the UEFA Champions League second leg between the teams in Portugal.
Porto was good value for its 1-0 win in France last week. It had possession of the football for 59 per cent of the match, it forced six corner kicks to Lille’s one and it had twice as many attempts on target as the home team, with Hector Herrera scoring the game’s only goal in the 61st minute.
One highlighted the value in backing Porto away to Lille last week and one is convinced that Julen Lopetegui’s team, which cannot afford to take its home leg easy because of how the away-goals rule works, represents a sound investment at odds of -149 with several bookmakers, including 888sport and Boylesports, to do the double over Lille.
Porto’s 2-0 Portuguese Primeira League home win over Martimo made it nine victories and one draw from its last 10 matches in front of its adoring fans since Estoril’s shock success in February. And it is worth nothing that Estoril defeated Porto 1-0 thanks to a late Evandro penalty kick seconds after Eliaquim Mangala received his marching orders.
Zenit finds itself in the same boat as Porto going into the second leg of its UEFA Champions League tie versus Standard Liege in Russia. Zenit dominated the first leg in Belgium – 62% possession, hitting the woodwork twice and having 17 attempts to Standard Liege’s eight – but the rich Russian side failed to build on the 1-0 lead that Oleg Shatov gave it in the 16th minute. One expects that Zenit will qualify for the group stage with a home win over Standard Liege, one that may be quite comprehensive given the state of play and the defensive statistics of the Belgium Pro League team.
Standard Liege has not kept a clean sheet in any of its last six games irrespective of venue and its road numbers, at least in terms of goals conceded, are very poor. Standard Liege has leaked 11 goals in its last five road matches and it has managed only one shutout in its last 10 away games.
Those statistics and the fact that Standard Liege has to go for broke at some point in Russia do not bode well for Guy Luzon’s side and, if Zenit hits its straps, which it does from time to time, the St Petersburg score could get ugly for supporters of the visiting team. Zenit is available at odds of -333 with Betfred and Totesport to defeat Standard Liege by any score, while the home side is trading at odds of -112 with 888sport and Unibet to cover a one-goal handicap and odds of 3.30 with Sportingbet to cover a two-goal handicap. No guts, no glory – snap up the latter.
Finally, one expects the UEFA Champions League play-offs second leg between Leverkusen and Kobenhavn in Germany to be every bit as entertaining as the first leg was in Denmark.
Leverkusen and Kobenhavn combined for five first-half goals in Denmark and the Bayer-bankrolled team produced one of the performances of the German Bundesliga first round to beat Dortmund 2-0 on the road. Leverkusen manager Roger Schmidt built Salzburg into one of Europe’s most enterprising sides and the early signs are that he is doing likewise with his new team. Leverkusen can afford to play what is becoming its normal, adventurous style against Kobenhavn because it leads the UEFA Champions League play-offs tie 3-2 and its opponent must score at least two away goals to have any chance of progressing. Therefore, one expects both Leverkusen and Kobenhavn will throw caution to the wind and attack.
Betfair Sportsbook is offering odds of -213 that combine for more than two and a half goals. Also, Betfair Sportsbook, Coral and Paddy Power are offering odds of +100 that both sides score. One’s preference is for the over-two-and-a-half goals play because Kobenhavn is not that good and Leverkusen could cover the line on its own.
Leverkusen and Kobenhavn Over 2.5 goals
27th August 19.45 GMT
Where to Bet: Betfair Sportsbook