UEFA Champions League preview: Malaga v Porto
By Football News
Malaga will need to find their way in front of goal if they are to defeat Porto and advance to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Manuel Pellegrini's side have scored just one goal in their past four games in all competitions and have failed to win once in that period, including the first leg of their round-of-16 tie against Porto, which the Portuguese club won 1-0.
The key for Pellegrini may be to find the spark to get Spanish wingers Isco and Joaquin back in form if Malaga are to continue their impressive maiden campaign in the Champions League.
Malaga topped Group C earlier in the competition ahead of AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg and Anderlecht, staying undefeated in six games and will move into the quarter-finals if they can overcome Porto by at least two goals on Wednesday.
Isco and Joaquin have each scored twice in the Champions League so far, accounting for over a quarter of Malaga's goals in the continental competition, but the former has not scored in five games in all competitions, while the latter's goalless streak is at eight matches.
If Pellegrini can spark his Spanish attacking duo into life they have the ability to defeat Porto on their own or set up the likes of Javier Saviola or Roque Santa Cruz to score the goals required for victory.
While Malaga have been struggling to put the ball in the back of the net, Porto have had no such problems as they have only been held scoreless once in their past 22 matches in all competitions.
Porto were held to a 0-0 draw by Sporting Lisbon on March 3, ending a run of 20 matches where they had scored.
Vitor Pereira's team bounced back over the weekend as they defeated Estoril 2-0 with Colombian striker Jackson Martinez scoring the second goal from the spot.
Martinez has been a revelation for Porto, having signed from Jaguares in Mexico before the season, scoring 27 goals in 30 matches, including three in the Champions League.
Malaga will enter the second leg on the back of a 1-1 draw away to Real Valladolid and Pellegrini will undoubtedly be happy to return to the club's home stadium.
During their winless streak, Malaga have only played at the Estadio La Rosaleda once, a 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid.
And having lost just five of 21 games at home this season, the club from the south coast of Spain will be much more confident of overcoming Porto on their own turf.