Inter vs Porto: Champions League Preview, Lineups & Prediction

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza is the venue as Inter and Porto go head-to-head in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on Wednesday night. The Nerazzurri head into proceedings in fine form, looking to secure a quarter-final berth for the first time in over a decade. 

Romelu Lukaku scored his second Serie A goal of the season as Inter thumped Udinese 3-1 at the weekend to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to five games (W4, D1). The Belgian striker returning to the scoresheet in Italy’s top flight for the first time since August 2022 was a positive ahead of the club’s attempt to advance into the Champions League last eight for the first time since 2010/11.

Inter failed to make it out of the round of 16 last season, falling short to Liverpool, but Simone Inzaghi’s men are hellbent on rectifying that mistake this term. That’s in part as their hopes of winning the Scudetto are dead in the water, with leaders Napoli boasting a massive 15-point at the top of the Serie A standings. 

Last season’s runners-up have proved their continental credentials in this term’s group stages by leaving non-other Barcelona in the so-called ‘group of death’ to finish second to Bayern Munich. Yet, visiting Porto also excelled during the autumn fixtures, capturing a top spot in Group B ahead of Club Brugge, Bayer Leverkusen, and Atletico Madrid. 

On top of their first Champions League group triumph since 2018/19, Sergio Conceicao’s high-flyers have developed into a force to be reckoned with this season. Unbeaten since October, all competitions included (W19, D3), the reigning Primeira Liga holders have strung together ten competitive wins in the build-up to this trip, most recently dispatching Rio Ave 1-0 at home last weekend.



Jose Mourinho, the last manager to guide Inter to the quarter-finals, is no longer at the helm, but Inzaghi’s lads are still in a prime position to pick up the slacks. The Nerazzurri hold a formidable home record against Portuguese visitors in major European competitions, coming out victorious in eight of their ten previous match-ups at Meazza (D1).

Speaking of their strength on home turf, Inter signed off a decent group stage campaign this term with back-to-back wins at Meazza, overcoming Barcelona and Viktoria Plzen by an aggregate score of 5-0. Another triumph would see the Nerazzurri register three consecutive home wins in the Champions League for the first time since 2010 when they incidentally last conquered the competition.

Player to Watch: Lautaro Martinez

After starting the Udinese game on the bench, Lautaro Martinez will likely regain his place in the starting lineup. The Argentine scored as a second-half substitute on Saturday, proving once again how talismanic he could be in front of goal.


In addition to finishing top of their Champions League group, Porto tallied 12 goals in their six group outings, more than their two closest competitors combined. Though scoring has not been a problem for the Portuguese champions, manager Conceicao has built his side’s rise to stardom on a rock-solid backline.

Going into this encounter, Porto have registered seven clean sheets in their last eight competitive matches, highlighting their defense as the team’s strong suit. Defensive resilience could be crucial as they bid to equal the club’s longest-ever winning streak in the Champions League of five games after winning four straight fixtures down the final stretch of the group phase.

Player to Watch: Mehdi Taremi

Mehdi Taremi has soaked up the limelight as Porto’s headline performer in the Champions League this season, recording five goals and two assists in five group-stage appearances. Another goal contribution would make him the joint-most effective Dragons player in a single Champions League campaign, a record currently owned by Moussa Marega.

Team News

Apart from long-term absentee Dalbert and injury-prone Joaquin Correa, Inter will have the remainder of their squad fit and ready for this clash.

As for Porto, Evanilson and Otavio are ruled out with physical issues, with Conceicao still sweating over Galeno and Mateus Uribe.

Inter vs Porto Potential Lineups

Inter Milan (3-4-3): Andre Onana; Milan Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni, Francesco Acerbi; Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Marcelo Brozovic, Federico Dimarco; Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez. 

Porto (4-4-2): Diogo Costa; Joao Mario, Pepe, David Carmo, Zaidu Sanusi; Andre Franco, Stephen Eustaquio, Marko Grujic, Pepe; Mehdi Taremi, Danny Namaso. 

Inter vs Porto Prediction

If Inter are to end their decade-long wait for the Champions League quarter-finals, winning the first leg at home is a must. Even though their visitors are enjoying a purple patch, we expect Inzaghi’s side to draw first blood and carry a single-goal lead into the return leg in Portugal.

Prediction: Inter Win

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