Diogo Costa for the 100th
Against Inter Milan, the goalkeeper will play his 100th game in goal for FC Porto, his 15th in Champions League, at only 23 years old. In the first leg, his reflex headline, on a header at the near post from Alessandro Bastoni, saved the Dragons from a heavier defeat. His season, marked by his three penalties saved in October, in the C1 group stage, confirms his skills at a very high level. He digested the error which cost Portugal the fatal goal against Morocco (0-1, December 10), in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, and several major European clubs would follow the atypical profile of the Portuguese, reverse of the athletic guns of the time (he measures 1.86 m). With rare agility, with both hands and feet, his idol was Vitor Baia, FC Porto’s goalkeeper in his last Champions League final, in 2004. He still has a few weeks ahead of him to score the history of his club, like his eldest.
Pepe for quarantine
While the one whose main support he was until the last World Cup, two years younger than him, is ending his incredible career in Saudi Arabia, Pepe continues to line up the Champions League matches as one strings the pearls. The central defender celebrated his 40th birthday (February 26) a few days after the first leg. While his first half of the season had been interrupted by a big glitch in the knee, he has been playing matches without stopping since January 15. As an extension of his astonishing Qatari World Cup: having run out of competition, he had been established from the second meeting, against Uruguay, and had not missed a minute (he had scored against Switzerland in the eighth) . Its ability to maintain itself at such a level never ceases to amaze.
Taremi for Iran
In the first leg, André Onana postponed his recovery on Porto’s biggest opportunity, perpetuating the less rosy phase of the season for Mehdi Taremi (30 years old). Sergio Conceiçao sang the usual couplet of coaches in these moments: “Since Taremi has been there, he has given so much to the team that I will not stop at the last two months”. Since then, the Iranian has scored two goals and provided an ist in less than a game and a half, and everything he does on the pitch would justify his tenure anyway. The striker will still finish the season with more than twenty goals, and now all those he scores resonate strongly in Iran. In recent weeks, he has repeatedly shown his support for the people of his country, in revolt against the leaders of the Islamic Republic. “You don’t do justice with a rope”he posted, among other things, on social networks to protest against the arbitrary hangings practiced in his country.