0404 GMT October 04, 2022
Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport told Lazio to watch out for Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi when the Biancocelesti take on Porto on Thursday.
The first leg of the Europa League playoffs will see Porto manager Sergio Conceicao go head-to-head with the club he represented as a player at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao.
Describing Taremi as “Porto’s number one danger man”, the Rome-based daily wrote Maurizio Sarri’s men should beware of the threat posed up front by the Iranian, who scored his fifth goal in last six appearances for the club during a 2-2 draw against fierce rival Sporting CP in Portuguese Primeira Liga on Friday.
Despite not getting the kind of praise he deserves, the Italian paper wrote, Taremi has constantly proven he can handle “the pressure of playing in the biggest occasions.”
The Iranian has had his fair share of memorable moments in the European elite club competition over the past 12 months, as his wonder strike against Chelsea in the Champions League quarterfinals last season won him nomination for FIFA Puskas Award, while he has also been on the score sheet against European giants Juventus and Liverpool.
Taremi, whose goal against Iraq secured a place in November’s World Cup finals in Qatar for the country, has bagged 14 goals and 10 assists in 31 outings across all competitions for Porto this season.
Enjoying “imposing physique, pace, and an incredible sense of goal”, Porto’s “new matador” will be the one Conceicao is counting on for goals to beat Lazio and make it to the next round, wrote the Corriere dello Sport, adding, “The sky blue backline will have to be alert.”
Other highly-anticipated Europa League encounters on Thursday will see Barcelona fans come to terms with new reality when their team plays in Europe's second-tier club competition for the first time in 18 years as Napoli visits the Camp Nou.
The Catalans crashed out of the Champions League with just two goals scored in six matches, with the arrival of new manager Xavi not enough to revive their fortunes late in the group phase.
German giant Borussia Dortmund will face Scottish champion Rangers with the first leg at the Signal Iduna Park, while the Norwegian frontman Erling Haaland will face a race against time to recover form an injury for the Bundesliga outfit.
Elsewhere, six-time winner Sevilla will square off against Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb at home, while Atalanta, currently fifth in Serie A table, hosting Olympiakos.