[Europa League] Lazio Draws Porto For Their Playoff Match

December 14, 2021

The draw for the play-off phase of the last 16 of the Europa League brought Lazio together with Portuguese giants, FC Porto.  

Founded in 1893, FC Porto has never been relegated from the highest caste of Portuguese football alongside Benfica and Sporting CP.  FC Porto has won the Portuguese League 29 times, the Portuguese Cup 17 times, and the Portuguese Super Cup 24.  They have also won the Champions League twice, once the UEFA Cup, once the Europa League, plus one European Super Cup.  In addition, the club nicknamed "Dragões" has also won the Club World Cup twice.

FC Porto entered the Europa League as third place in the Champions League group stage.  Being in group B, Porto failed to advance to the last 16 of the Champions League after only finishing third behind Liverpool and Atletico Madrid.  FC Porto also had to settle for playing in the European League.

This season, FC Porto became the temporary top of the Portuguese League until week 14.  12 wins and 2 draws made FC Porto compete at the top of the standings with Sporting CP who achieved the same result.  FC Porto is currently at the top thanks to a superior goal difference.  Luis Díaz and Mehdi Taremi are the club's current top scorers.  The combination of these two goals has contributed to 18 goals, more than half the total goals scored by FC Porto in the Portuguese League competition.

In the official event, Lazio has only met FC Porto twice.  Both meetings took place in the 2002/2003 UEFA Cup semifinals.  At that time, Lazio, which was reinforced by Simone Inzaghi, Dejan Stankovic, Stefano Fiore, Fernando Couto, Enrico Chiesa, and Claudio Lopez, was crushed by FC Porto, which was then managed by Jose Mourinho with an aggregate score of 4-1.  FC Porto also advanced to the final and became champions for the first time. 

In an unofficial event, Lazio once met FC Porto in a pre-season friendly.  In the match which was held at the Estádio do Dragão on August 10, 2008, Lazio, coached by Delio Rossi, narrowly lost 1-2 to the hosts.

Porto's Coach also will have a reunion with the club in the Italian capital. As a player, Sérgio Conceição represented Lazio for two seasons, becoming Italian champion in 1999/2000.

Currently, Lazio occupies the ninth position in Serie A, with 25 points (15 of the leader Inter), having added seven victories, against six defeats and four draws.  

In the Europa League, they went on to this play-off as the runner-up in Group E, with two wins and three draws, suffering one defeat (in Istanbul, against Galatasaray).

The team is currently managed by Maurizio Sarri, who previously played for Juventus, Chelsea, and Napoli.

The play-off matches will take place on February 17th and 24th, 2022, with FC Porto hosting first at Dragão.

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