The lowdown on Rangers’ Europa League opponents Porto
Ze Luis has hit the ground running for Sergio Conceicao’s side.
Rangers will be looking to return to winning ways in Europa League Group G when they visit Porto.
Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at Thursday’s opponents.
After beginning his managerial career with Olhanense, former Portugal winger Sergio Conceicao took charge of a host of other Portuguese clubs before moving to Nantes in late 2016. The following summer he was named boss of his former club Porto and guided them to a first league title in five seasons in his first year in charge. Conceicao’s side have won six of their seven league games so far this campaign to sit one point behind leaders FC Famalicao.
Porto boast a rich history in Europe, having won the continent’s premier competition on two occasions, claiming the European Cup in 1987 before beating Monaco in the final to win the Champions League when Jose Mourinho was in charge in 2004. They have also lifted the Europa League trophy twice – in 2003 and 2011. The Portuguese side reached the quarter-finals of last year’s Champions League but were beaten by eventual winners Liverpool.
Ze Luis has hit the ground running at the Estadio do Dragao since joining Porto from Spartak Moscow in the summer. The Cape Verde international is level with Benfica’s Pizzi at the top of the Primeira Liga scoring charts after netting six league goals in seven games. Rangers were able to keep him quiet when they faced his former club Spartak in this competition last year and nullifying his threat again will surely be pretty high up on Steven Gerrard’s priority list on Thursday.
The first meeting between the sides came in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1983-84 campaign. Rangers won their home leg 2-1 but exited the competition on away goals after Porto ran out 1-0 winners in the reverse fixture. They then met twice in 2005 after being drawn in the same Champions League group, with the Light Blues winning their first encounter 3-2 courtesy of Sotirios Kyrgiakos’ late goal, and the second match ending 1-1.