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Champions League Group G: Hulk to score on Dragao return

| 22.10.2013

Zenit St. Petersburg have picked up just one point in their two matches thus far, and given Porto’s reputation at the Stadio de Dragao, one could be forgiven fearing the worst for Luciano Spalletti’s side in what looks to be a key night in the battle for second place in the group.

Paulo Fonseca’s side won all four of their home matches in the Champions League last season, however, their aura was dealt a blow last time out when they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Atletico.

Given that defeat, Porto look a touch short at 4/6 to take the three points, with 11/4 for the draw especially enticing. Zenit are 4/1 to take the spoils.

To further Zenit’s claims for not leaving empty handed, they have kept the opposition scoreless in their last three in all competitions.

There have been under 2.5 goals in four of the last seven Champions League matches at the Dragao, and the score finished 0-0 when the Russian side last visited Porto in 2011. Odds of 3/4 on under 2.5 goals looks the standout bet in this encounter.

This encounter also sees Hulk return the club where he scored 54 goals in 99 league appearances – with nine goals in his last nine for Zenit he simply can’t be ignored at 5/2 to register anytime.

Atletico will expect to maintain their 100 per cent record in Vienna, despite picking up a first defeat of the season in the Primera Liga at the weekend.

They are a worthy 4/11 shot to maintain their unbeaten start, with Austria Vienna an 8/1 shot. The draw can be taken at 7/2.

The Austrian side are yet to score in the group, and host Atletico in a state of disarray. Nenad Bjelica’s boys have just one win in all competitions since August, losing four of their last five games at the Franz Horr Stadium.

Both of the Madrid side’s matches have seen over 2.5 goals to date – Diego Simeone’s men have rattled in five strikes so far (and conceded in both fixtures) – and will expect to fill their boots against a side which has kept just one clean sheet in 11 matches. An Atletico win with over 2.5 goals makes great appeal at evens.

Those ambitions will be boosted further by the news that Diego Costa, who sustained a knock in their weekend defeat to Espanyol, has travelled with the squad. The striker leads the Spanish top division with 10 goals after nine games, and is a 3/1 shot to open the scoring – though the rout should be on with or without the Brazilian.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Toby Calnan