Champions League

Sousa looks to turn over compatriots

2015-02-17 09:11
Paulo Sousa (Getty Images)

Basel - Basel coach Paulo Sousa hopes his side will make a significant stride towards reaching the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time when they face two-time title winners Porto in their last 16 first leg clash on Wednesday in Basel.

Sousa, who spent four seasons as a player at Benfica and picked up 52 caps for Portugal during a glittering career as a defensive midfielder, needs to overturn a Basel record against Portuguese sides that stands at just two wins in ten matches at home.

He also admitted he was close to joining Porto during his playing career before a potential deal fell through.

"I was close to signing for FC Porto, it's true," he said.

"There was that possibility before and after Espanyol but in the latter case, I was even closer to returning to Benfica," said Sousa who has also had coaching spells at Queens Park Rangers, Swansea and Leicester City.

"The only contact I had with the president of FC Porto was when I arrived at Juventus. He was in Italy to see how the ticketing worked at the club and in Italian football and then we had the opportunity to talk.

"He acknowledged the admiration he had for me and said he wanted to see me play at Porto, which made me very happy but it never happened."

The Swiss champions have nothing to fear having knocked out Liverpool in the group stages this season while also ousting Manchester United in 2011 and defeating Chelsea home and away during the 2013-14 Champions League group campaign.

The team are in the knockout stages for just the third time, but ended up on the wrong end of a 7-1 aggregate bashing by Bayern Munich the last time in 2012, although they did reach the European Cup last eight in 1974 when they were knocked out by Celtic.

Porto coach Julen Lopetegui knows his team face a stiff challenge in the all important first leg.

"This is a team that deserves its qualification for the knockout stages following a group in which they beat Liverpool," said the Porto handler.

"This team gave Real Madrid a hard time in Switzerland and they have experience and also did very well last season, it's a team packed with talent.

"We have to be at our best in terms of intensity and concentration if to have a chance to qualify."

Porto, who won the competition in 1987 and 2004, have lost just once in six outings against Swiss opposition and comfortably won Group H thanks largely to away wins at Athletic Bilbao and Bulgarian champions BATE Borisov and an unbeaten home record in three matches.

Sousa faced Porto 12 times as a player, but was on the winning side just twice against six defeats, as the visitors come into the tie having lost just once in their last 14 European matches home or away.

Shkelzen Gashi is the dangerman for Basel, having finished top scorer in Switzerland last season before signing from Grasshoppers and he also leads the current scoring charts with 13 goals to spark their unbeaten run to the top of the league table.

Porto's most likely source of goals will be the in-form Colombian Jackson Martinez who has put away 12 goals in his last 13 matches in all competitions.

Read more on:    basel  |  porto  |  champions league  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.