FC Porto take the honours

By Chris Wright, in Sport · 08-03-2018 14:31:00 · 0 Comments
FC Porto take the honours

A thrilling ‘Clássico’ at the Estádio do Dragão saw FC Porto come out on top against a Sporting side who may well have had one eye on their Europa League game against Czech outfit Victoria Plzen last night (Thursday). Benfica thumped Marítimo at the Stadium of Light while SC Braga travelled to lowly Estoril who were hit for six.

Both FC Porto and Sporting were weakened by injuries and suspensions with the home side missing Alex Telles, Ricardo Pereira, Danilo, Tiquinho Soares and Aboubakar whilst Sporting were without their two biggest goal threats, Bas Dost and Gelson Martins.
The three previous meetings between these two teams this season had produced just one goal, but a bright opening set the tone for an exciting match with both sides showing attacking flair.
In the twelfth minute, Marega twice came close to giving Porto the lead, heading against the post then seeing his follow-up effort cleared off the line by Bryan Ruiz.
On the half-hour mark Porto took the lead as Maxi Pereira cleverly created space and slipped a neat pass to Héctor Herrera, who looked up and crossed perfectly onto the head of Marcano who made no mistake. A minute before the interval, Sporting lost the injured Doumbia with young Rafael Leão taking his place.
The 18 year-old Portugal youth international’s first contribution was to make a superb darting run across the box, picked out by a lovely Bryan Ruiz pass, before firing low and hard into the net, the ball passing between Iker Casillas’ legs.

FC Porto restored their lead shortly after the restart, when Gonçalo Paciência broke down the right and his low cross found Brahimi, who made no mistake as he lifted the ball over Patrício into the roof of the net.
Sporting refused to lie down and Bryan Ruiz headed onto the outside of the post before Mathieu tested Casillas reflexes with a free-kick, which proved to be the first of several fine saves by the veteran Spanish international keeper.
Porto, still unbeaten in the Primeira Liga, held on for a crucial win that keeps them five points ahead of Benfica, who were in rampant form as a first-half hat-trick from Jonas destroyed Marítimo.
It was the Brazilian international’s second three-goal haul of the season and brought his total to thirty, ten ahead of Moussa Marega (FC Porto) and Bas Dost (Sporting).
Alejandro Grimaldo scored the Eagles other first-half goal after he collected Andrija Zivkovic’s intricate pass inside the box. Marítimo sunk deeper in the second period, with the VAR stepping in to confirm Gamboa’s raking foot down Zivkovic’s leg merited a red card ten minutes after the break. Benfica completed their five-goal demolition of the Madeira outfit with a wonder-strike from Zivkovic in the eighty-first minute.
The Serbian striker looked up and struck a right-footed curling shot high into the top corner from just outside the penalty area.
Estoril are having a season to forget, beaten by non-league Farense in the Portugal Cup and now a 6-0 home defeat by SC Braga which sees them firmly anchored to the foot of the table.
Portimonense’s recent good form came to an end as they lost 3-0 at CD Aves. On Sunday, Portimonense entertain Vitória de Guimarães at the Municipal Stadium, Portimão, kick-off 11.45am.


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