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Basel must improve against Portuguese sides to get past Porto

FC Basel must improve its record against Portuguese sides in order to get past FC Porto in their UEFA Champions League last 16 return leg on Tuesday night (3:45pm ET on FOX Sports 2 in the US).

The 1-1 first leg draw means Porto are still unbeaten in this season’s competition (six wins and three draws), while Basel are without a win in their last three European matches.

Porto have only been beaten once in seven fixtures against Swiss sides, and have accumulated three wins and three draws in the remaining games. The Portuguese club is also unbeaten in their last eight European home games, winning five and drawing three since a 1-0 loss to Zenit-St Petersburg on matchday three last season; and have lost just once in their last fifteen European games both home and away.

Basel have scored in just four of their 11 fixtures against Primeira Liga sides. Their record in Portugal stands at zero wins, three draws and two losses.

The good news for Basel is Porto will be without captain and leading scorer Jackson Martinez during the return leg. The striker has scored six goals in eight UEFA Champions League appearances this season and is also the leading scorer in the Portuguese League with 17 goals.

Overall, Martinez has scored 86 times in 125 appearances since he joined Porto from the Mexican side Chiapas in July 2012.

Regardless of Martinez’s omission, Basel coach Paulo Sousa believes his team is ready for the threats presented by the Portuguese giants and will react well to the hostile environment inside the Estádio do Dragão on Tuesday night.

Basel is coming off a 3-0 win over FC Thun on Saturday, leaving them seven points clear at the top of the Swiss league, and their manager expects his players’ good form in Switzerland to carry over during their trip to Portugal.

“It was an amazing, amazing performance, and I’m really, really happy,” Sousa said following Saturday’s win. “It means we have come back again to near our best level of performance. The boys enjoy playing at this level. It also means that we can recover more quickly and present ourselves in Porto at our best.”


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