Spurs under 19’s versus FC Porto: (match preview)
Our under 19’s have a big European game to look forward to on Wednesday when they take on Portuguese giants FC Porto, in the last 16 round of this seasons UEFA Youth League. Following the departure of our under 19’s head coach Matt Wells I would expect John McDermott to take charge of the team on Wednesday morning. After beating PAOK 1-0 in the last round to progress to this stage of the competition, Spurs will be expecting a far tougher game against renowned Academy side FC Porto. Mário Fernando Magalhães Silva’s side qualified for this round of the competition after finishing top of Group D. Porto topped a group containing Schalke, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow after picking up 13 points from their six group stage matches. This is a very tough game for Spurs who are missing so many of their most important players to injury. Porto made the semi-finals of last seasons competition where they were knocked out by Chelsea, after beating us 2-0 in a particularly dour quarter final at Hotspur Way. It was dour, only because the Portuguese club managed to nullify our most potent attacking players for the entirety of the game, as they looked to catch Scott Parker’s side on the break. That was a very good under 19 side that we had that season, but unfortunately for that team, they came up against a Porto side who managed the game far better than them. I wasn’t particularly impressed by Porto’s attacking play that day, in fact they were pretty unremarkable in how moved the ball around the pitch. However, it was the Portuguese clubs physicality, maturity, discipline and solidity at the back which is was outdid us on the day. Silva’s side appear to being doing well in their own domestic league this season and last weekend they recorded an impressive 5-1 victory over rivals Sporting Lisbon. Wednesday’s game will be played at the Centro de Treinos e Formação Desportiva – Vila Nova de Gaīa. That is a venue that the Portuguese club haven’t lost a European game at since 2016.
Wednesdays game (kick off is At 11 AM) is being shown live on BT Sport 2 for those of you like me who can’t make the trip to Northern Portugal, it is very convenient. Some Porto players to watch out for are their 16 year old centre forward Fábio Silva and 19 year old forward Romario Baro (Porto like to play with two centre forwards) as well as their talented defender Diogo Bessa. I think it is going to be a very difficult game for our youngsters on Wednesday and it doesn’t help that we will be without key players such as Troy Parrott and Jack Roles, but this exceptionally talented young team can beat any team in Europe on their day. And they needn’t look any further than their superb performance away to Barcelona in the group stages of the competition, as inspiration for Wednesday’s big game. I would like to wish the lads all the very best of luck for the game and I am sure that they will do us all proud no matter what the final score is. My in-depth match report of Wednesday’s European game will be published in the early hours of Thursday morning.
My predicted lineup: (4-3-3) Austin (c), Hinds, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, White, Oakley-Boothe, A.Shashoua, Markanday, Bennett, Maghoma.
Subs from: De Bie, Okedina, Walcott, Binks, Pochettino, Cooper, Whittaker.
Injured/unavailable: Jack Roles (suspended), Jamie Bowden, Jeremie Mukendi, Rodel Richards, Phoenix Patterson, Troy Parrott.
Doubtful: Joshua Oluwayemi, TJ Eyoma, Elliott Thorpe, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Enoch Asante.
Previous meeting: Spurs 0-2 Porto.
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: The ‘ Dragōes ‘ 16 year old centre forward Fábio Silva, who has scored four goals from six appearances in the competition this season.