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Champions League: Inter Milan v Porto preview: Hosts look to have San Siro edge

With a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs, Inter Milan prepare to host FC Porto in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday evening.

Both teams have found good form in recent weeks, but with a squad that has been decimated by injuries, Porto face a mighty task to try and come away from the San Siro without a deficit before the second leg on 14th March.

WhatInter Milan v FC Porto
WhereSan Siro, Milan
When20:00, Wednesday 22nd February
How to watchBT Sport 2
OddsInter Milan 7/10, Draw 13/5, FC Porto 17/4

Inter to throw everything at Champions League

With Napoli racing into a 15-point lead at the top of the Serie A table, Inter have a climb akin to Mount Vesuvius to leapfrog the front-runners.

Inter’s form has been impressive, with just one defeat in their last 11 games in all competitions, but even if they keep that up, it will be a mighty challenge to chase down Napoli.

With the Nerazzurri on course for a top-four finish, manager Simone Inzaghi can give further focus to the club’s Champions League endeavours as they prepare to host Porto on Wednesday.

Inter’s defensive form has been excellent in recent weeks, conceding just once in their last four games in all competitions.

The Nerazzurri to come out on top once again to nil is available at 13/8, while the Serie A giants are the firm favourites at 4/9 to qualify for the quarter-finals, against a Porto side who have some selection dilemmas ahead of the first leg in Lombardy.

Injury crisis to hurt visitors

Porto boss Sergio Conceicao has the unenviable task of putting a team together with a host of names set to miss the clash at the San Siro.

Evanilson, Fabio Cardoso, Gabriel Veron and Francisco Meixedo will miss the trip to Italy, while there are significant doubts the pair of Mateus Uribe and Galeno will recover from their respective injuries in time for Wednesday.

Just to add to Conceicao’s selection headaches, forward Toni Martinez picked up a knock at the weekend after scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory against Rio Ave.

It’s not certain on the full extent of the injury for Martinez but there are concerns the clash with the Nerazzurri might come too soon for the 25-year-old striker.

Despite their injury problems over recent weeks, Porto do go into this game on the back of strong recent form.

Unbeaten in their last 22 matches in all competitions and on a 10-match winning run going into this one, confidence will be high in the visitors' camp.

However, Inter pose a much sterner test than Porto are used to domestically and their injury problems mean they will do well to head back to Portugal with anything akin to parity.

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Happy selection dilemma for Inzaghi

In contrast, Inter boss Inzaghi has a nearly fully-fit squad to choose from, except for the isolated case of Joaquin Correa, who is sidelined.

Highlighting the importance of the Champions League to Inzaghi, he decided to rest the likes of Andre Onana, Hakan Calhanoglu and Milan Skriniar at the weekend, as Inter ran out 3-1 winners against Udinese in Serie A.

As well as having players coming back into the starting XI refreshed, Inzaghi will also have a big call to make up front with Lautaro Martinez, Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku battling it out to feature in the two starting roles at the head of a 3-5-2.

Martinez is likely to get the nod after scoring 13 league goals in 23 appearances, while also scoring in two of their last three games.

Lukaku has been showing better form after overcoming his injury problems that plagued him at the start of the campaign and leading into the World Cup, meaning the Belgian might just edge Dzeko out for a starting place.

Former Manchester City and Roma star Dzeko has still scored seven league goals this season and would pose a great threat off the bench if Inter are in need of more firepower in the second half.

Martinez is 15/8 to score anytime, Lukaku is available at 21/10 in the same market, along with 9/4 shot Dzeko.

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