Ambitious Casillas prepares to equal Xavi’s record

Date published: Tuesday 15th September 2015 5:01

Iker Casillas Porto TEAMtalk

Iker Casillas will make a record-equalling 151st Champions League appearance when the Porto take on Dynamo Kiev in Wednesday’s Group G opener.

The 34-year-old, who left Real Madrid for the Dragoes this summer, will match the record number of appearances made by former Barcelona captain Xavi in the NSK Olimpiyskiy stadium.

Porto reached the quarter-finals last season before losing 7-4 on aggregate to Bayern Munich.

“The Champions League is a big aim for us and we hope we can have a good competition,” Casillas, who won the Champions League three times with Real, told the Portuguese press.

“Let’s see if we can reach the final and play against Real Madrid.”

Porto have reason to be confident heading into Wednesday’s match as they have not lost on their previous six visits to Ukraine.

Moreover, they lost just one of their six European away games last season.

Porto coach Julen Lopetegui will have to watch the game from the stands as he serves a one-match touchline ban while defender Ivan Marcano is also suspended.

Porto will be hoping Vincent Aboubakar can keep up his goalscoring form with the Cameroon striker having found the back of the net four times in as many league games.

Aboubakar scored in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Arouca, Porto’s third victory in four games.

Porto are level on 10 points with Sporting Club de Portugal at the top of the Primeira Liga and have a big home game against Benfica on Sunday.

Dynamo Kiev, returning to Europe’s elite club competition after a two-year absence, will also take on Chelsea and Maccabi Tel Aviv in the pool.

The hosts expect a challenge from the start.

“Porto have changed, a lot of players have left the club but that doesn’t make this team weaker,” Dynamo coach Serhiy Rebrov said on his club’s official website.

“Their newcomers are high-profile performers.

“At the moment Porto players are looking for mutual understanding, but still they are a very good team.”

The Ukrainian double winners have enjoyed a strong start to the season.

They are unbeaten in the domestic league and Saturday’s 3-0 triumph over Olexandriya was their sixth victory in seven matches.

Rebrov’s side have conceded just one goal in their last seven games.

Dynamo are three points clear of Shakhtar Donetsk at the top of the Ukrainian Premier League seven games into the campaign.

Rebrov will be hoping his team can take that good run of form also in Europe, where Dynamo have tasted victory only three times in their last 15 group home games.

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