Paris St Germain's striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic attends a news conference on the eve of their Champions League soccer match against Dynamo Kiev at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris September 17, 2012.
(Photo : REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
The first day of the Champions League gets underway this afternoon with four of the eight groups in action. Let's take a look at Group A.
Paris Saint German (PSG) vs Dynamo Kiev 2:45 PM
Returning to the competition for the first time in 8 years, all eyes will be on the rejuvenated PSG that is now led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Dynamo Kiev has enough fire power to make noise, but PSG will p[rove to be a formidable task. With all the spotlight however on PSG, Kiev can be content knowing that the majority of pressure will be on their opponents to deliver and that should make the match easier for Kiev.
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Edge: Kiev has less pressure to deal with, but PSG has more talent with the likes of Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, and Ezequiel Lavezzi. With their resurgence, most are expecting a win from PSG and anything else would be considered a failure. POlaying in front of their home crowd should help ease the pressure, but it could just heighten it.
Prediction: PSG 3-1. Ibrahimovic with at least one goal.
Dinamo Zagreb vs. FC Porto 2:45PM ET
The Croatian club Zagreb takes on what many believe to be the group favorite in Porto. Porto is stacked with talent that includes Fabiano, Alex Sandro, Silvestre Varela, Joao Moutinho, and James Rodriguez. The difficulty for Porto is that they will be playing in Croatia and in four matches between these two clubs, the home team has always one. Of course they can remain content knowing that this same club hasn't won a competitive match at home in two years and was the one that lost all of its matches in last year's champions league. In fact, they hold the record for worst UCL performance ever. But if Porto is to move on they will need Colombian James Rodriguez to fill the void left by Brazilian Hulk who departed for Zenit St. Petersburg.
Edge: Porto is miles more talented than Zagreb and they will feel confident to play a squad that has a ton of pressure to make fans forget last year.
Prediction: Porto makes easy work of Zagreb with a 3-0 win. Rodriguez scores at least one.