Three matches to watch out of the plethora:
Yep, this one is all about pressure. Newcastle have poured in on Spurs with their win over Swansea on Good Friday, now Spurs can slather it over Arsenal with a win at the Stadium of Light.
That’s far from a given, though. Sunderland have lost on home soil only once since November, should’ve completed a double over Manchester City last weekend, and are playing with the verve and swagger of brash young pop stars. You know, REO Speedwagon, Norman Greenbaum and the rest of the popular beat combos the kids are listening to today.
Lazio vs Napoli (3pmET): A proverbial six-pointer in the competition for 3rd place in Serie A (and hence a spot in next season’s Champions League). Lazio currently hold that 3rd position with 51 points, but Napoli (and Udinese) are close behind with 48 (and Roma are a single point behind them).
These teams are from the same country and tonight they seek the same prize – but that’s about all they have in common. On one hand we have Porto, long one of the top clubs in Europe, a side who have just finished their domestic league unbeaten and 21 points clear of their nearest pursuers, and who have a fearsome forward line in the form of Falcao and Hulk as well as the most acclaimed young manager in the continent, 33-year-old André Villa Boas. And on the other hand we have Braga, a humble club whose only major is the 1966 Portuguese Cup (what it about 1966 and minnows winning cups?), who finished fourth in their domestic league this season, and in the process suffered two defeats by Porto. Indeed, that tends to be how their meetings go: Porto have won 92 of the 131 previous encounters between these clubs, Braga have triumphed in just 17. It would be a minor revolution if the underdogs were to prevail tonight.
Well, some things have changed at Porto over the summer. AVB of course left for the big time, as did Falcao (who’s continued to bang in the goals for Atlético Madrid, in La Liga and again in Europa–most recently on two days ago).
See also here for our preview of that Europa League final last spring, including a Google Map showing how Braga and Porto are a mere 50km apart in the north of Portugal.
Among Mr. Souto de Moura’s major works is a soccer stadium set into a mountain in Braga, Portugal, which was completed in 2004.
It is in a former granite quarry, and more granite was blasted away and crushed to make concrete for the structure. The stadium has two long sides, with the jagged face of the mountain forming a third side and the fourth open to a view of the city.