UCL matchday 1: FC Porto – Beşiktaş

Updated: September 13, 2017

Just like last season Beşiktaş opent heir new Champions League adventure away in Portugal, this time the opponents are FC Porto.

Porto has had to surrender the dominance over the Portuguese league to rivals Benfica in recent years but under Sergio Conceiçao they are going strong right now. Porto have started off the season in impressive fashion, winning all five of their league fixtures including a traditionally tough away match against SC Braga.

Conceiçao seems to have Porto back on track to challenge for the Portuguese title despite the club not bringing in any major reinforcements in the Summer. If anything the only additions to the squad that Conceiçao has received are players returning from loan.

Aboubakar shone for Beşiktaş in last season’s edition of the Champions Legue but now is back at FC Porto, however he won’t play tonight due to suspension.

The most noteable players to have returned from a loan spell is without a doubt Vincent Aboubakar, the Cameroon forward had a successful spell at Beşiktaş last season but the Black Eagles were unable to cough up the €10m buyout clause in their loan deal. Despite trying to lower the a deal could not be reached as French club Lorient owned more than half of the player’s rights and they were unwilling to lower their asking price.

With that Porto have found themselves with a reinvigorated Aboubakar, who has been banging in goals left and right for fun. Aboubakar had alraedy made an impressive start during Porto’s preseason friendlies and has carried over that form in tot he league, with 5 goals in 5 matches.

Fortunately for Beşiktaş they will not have to deal with “Abou” on the opening Champions League matchday as the Cameroon international is still serving a one match suspension following his red card against Olympiakos in the Europa League last season, while playing for Beşiktaş.

Faith would have it that Porto and Beşiktaş square off on the opening match day, that being the final match Aboubakar will be suspended as he received a 3 match ban for his headbutt against an Olympiakos defender.

It’ll be an emotional return for Ricardo Quaresma to the Dragão, but should he score he’ll become Beşiktaş’ all time foreign European topscorer with 13 goals (Bobô having 12).

Porto are without a doubt in great form, but Aboubakar’s absence is certainly a loss in quality for them up front.

Beşiktaş aren’t at full strength themselves, Gökhan Gönül is still recovering from his surgery last month. But apart from that Şenol Güneş has his full squad at his disposal.

While Álvaro Negredo and Jeremain Lens got their first starts against Karabükspor on Saturday, Şenol Güneş is expected to opt for Ricardo Quaresma and Cenk Tosun up front instead. Adriano Correia, who missed Saturday’s match due to a minor injury, is expected to start at rightback with Caner Erkin reprising his role at leftback.

A surprise could perhaps take place in the centre of defence, but all signs point towards another Pepe-Tosic partnership. However, following Tosic’s dismissal against Karabükspor on Saturday and Mitrovic’s impressive showing in the final 20-odd minutes, Şenol Güneş might be tempted to start the young Croatian ahead of Tosic or perhaps even try out Gary Medel for the first time in the centre of defence.

Ricardo Quaresma and Pepe will both be making their returns to a club where they spent a good part of their careers; Pepe played for Porto before joining Real Madrid in 2007, while Ricardo Quaresma had two spells at Porto and is still adored by their fans today.

Porto -Beşiktaş promises to be an exciting and already crucial match for both sides, in an extremely competitive group with Monaco and RB Leipzig every single point will count. For Porto the message is clear: start with a win at home. While Beşiktaş could take comfort with one point but certainly can’t afford to start on the back foot and lose tonight.

FC Porto (POR) – Beşiktaş JK (TUR)
Location: Estádio Do Dragão
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Date: Wednesday, September 13th
Time: 20:45 CET
Channel: Tivibu
Matchday 1

Beşiktaş predicted XI:

Fabricio Ramirez; Adriano Correia, Pepe, Dusko Tosic, Caner Erkin; Atiba Hutchinson, Oğuzhan Özyakup, Anderson Talisca; Ricardo Quaresma, Cenk Tosun, Ryan Babel

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Kaan Bayazit

Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International
Freelance sports writer specialized in Turkish football and Beşiktaş. Co-host of the Black Eagles podcast. Frequently featured in World Soccer Digest Japan and many other international media outlets. Following Turkish football for close to two decades. Proud father to Aedin.
Kaan Bayazit
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