UEFA Europa League: Napoli vs FC Porto preview


Italian Napoli host Porto on Thursday in a UEFA Europa League last-16 second-leg match that head coach Rafael Benitez has described as being "like a final". The Spaniard has won this competition last season with Chelsea. Porto managed to win the first leg 1-0 thanks to a goal from Jackson Martinez, ending Napoli's eight-match unbeaten run. The Italians have recovered from that defeat with a 1-0 league victory at Torino.

Porto, guided by interim head coach Luis Castro, suffered a defeat last weekend at Sporting Lisbon. There is just one previous European meeting between these two clubs, it was back in 1974-1975 and Napoli won each leg 1-0 back then in the UEFA Cup. Porto have lost eight times on their 13 previous matches in Italy while Napoli are unbeaten at home in four clashes against Portuguese sides.

Benitez could become the first manager to win the trophy in successive seasons with different clubs but he acknowledges the difficulty of the task considering his team's packed schedule. "It is certainly not easy to rest as they should when playing this high rate of games," Benitez said. "We played two or three games in a few weeks and that has a cost. But we need to recover as quickly as possible and try to be bright on Thursday in the match against Porto to stay part of this European competition. For us it is like a final, a real final and we have to make the most of our chances."

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Napoli win - 10/11
Draw - 13/5
FC Porto win - 7/2

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