European classic set for the Estadio do Dragao

Porto play host to Serie A side Lazio on Thursday night in the Europa League playoff first leg tie. Coming off the back of a fiery 2-2 draw with Sporting, Porto will want to get back to winning ways while their visitors secured a 3-0 victory over Bologna on Saturday.

Home advantage is key here

The hosts have been imperious domestically this season, still unbeaten in the Portuguese top flight and cruising at the top of the table. But this could be their biggest test they're yet to face at home when Lazio come to town.

Last three European results:

Milan 1-1 Porto (03.11.21)

Liverpool 2-0 Porto (24.11.21)

Porto 1-3 Atletico Madrid (07.12.21)

Finishing third in the Champions League group that Porto were dealt should be without shame for the Portuguese side. They finished just two points behind Atletico and had a real chance to qualify for the knockouts in Europe's premiere competition.

Nevertheless, they now find themselves in the Europa League looking to advance into the round-of-16. Lazio will be stern opponents, but last season's Champions League run combined with their 100% record in the league should give Porto the edge mentally.

Lazio struggle on their travels

Maurizio Sarri's side currently sit 6th in Serie A, just two points behind Atalanta in the Europa League spot in the league.

Last three Europa League results:

Marseille 2-2 Lazio (04.11.21)

Lokomotiv Moscow 0-3 Lazio (25.11.21)

Lazio 0-0 Galatasaray (09.12.21)

Their 0-0 draw with table topping Galatasaray meant that Lazio went into the playoffs for the round-of-16 in this year's Europa League. A disappointing group stage by all accounts, but pipping Marseille to that second spot was crucial.

Sarri's side have struggles massively away from the capital. They've lost six of their 13 away league games this season, giving them the worst away record amongst the top nine in the Serie A.

Some interesting trivia:

- Porto are unbeaten after 22 games of their domestic league campaign, winning 19 of their matches.

- Porto had won eight on the bounce before they salvaged a draw against Sporting last time out.

- Lazio have only managed to pick up 17 of their 42 points in the league so far when playing away from home.

The Verdict:

Combine Lazio's relatively poor away record with an imperious looking Porto side, out to go on another European run this campaign, and I can really see this first leg going one way.

That's why I'm going with a Porto win with bet365.

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