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Saturday, 25 August 2012 23:23

Slick Porto put Guimarães to the sword

Second-string Braga brush aside Beira-Mar

lucho-helton-20120825.jpgFC Porto banished the memory of two distinctly uninspiring performance in their first two official matches of 20012/13 with a sparkling display to destroy Vitória Guimarães 4-0 at the Estádio do Dragão tonight. Earlier in the afternoon, Braga proved far too strong for Beira-Mar, running out comfortable 3-1 winners despite resting many of their regular starters.

FC Porto 4-0 Vitória de Guimarães

A brace from Lucho González and a goal apiece from Hulk and Jackson Martínez (penatly) were just reward for an excellent display by Portuguese champions Porto tonight, to completely overpower a poor Guimarães side.

The Dragons did not take long to click into gear and got better and better as the match went on, with veteran Lucho González, Brazilian left-back Alex Sandro and Ghanaian midfielder Atsu turning in outstanding individual performances.

Lucho got the ball rolling after 16 minutes, showing speed of thought and execution that belied his age by hammering an unstoppable shot into the top corner after his intended pass to Martínez had been intercepted and came back to him.

Porto had already been having the better of affairs, but the goal visibly lifted the confidence of the home side who sent waves of attacks towards the Guimarães goal with increasingly intensity. By half time Porto had clocked up thirteen efforts at goal, against zero from the visitors. Martínez will feel he should have scored from at least one of several clear headed opportunities, while a Hulk shot was stopped by N’Diaye’s hands, but the referee waved away penalty appeals.

A brief ten-minute spell of improved play by Vitória after the break hinted that the visitors may make a game of it, and Soundani  was not far off with two efforts in quick succession.

Hulk thunderbolt

It proved to be only a short interlude to the Porto domination, as the home side swarmed all over their opponents in a devastating final half hour. Hulk, perhaps playing his last game in a Porto shirt, scored a goal typical of his very unique talents. Picking up a Moutinho pass and cutting across the head of the box from the right, the Incrível unleashed an unstoppable left-foot shot that was crashing into the back of the net before goalkeeper Douglas had had time to dive.

Just two days after the sale of Álvaro Pereira had been made official, his replacement at left-back, Alex Sandro, played a match that suggests the Uruguayan will not be greatly missed. Albeit not tested from a defensive point of view, Sandro offered consistently high-quality support going forward. He was involved in the third and fourth goals.

In the 71st minute Sandro found Atsu in space, whose shot wide on the left was well saved by Douglas, but the Vitória goalkeeper could only look on as Lucho González pounced on the rebound to tuck in from close range. Sandro was then involved again, finding Moutinho who was scythed down in the box for an obvious penalty. Jackson Martínez stepped up and cheekily dinked the spot-kick “Penenka style” into the net to make it 4-0.

Hulk and Martínez almost added to the goals as Porto enjoyed themselves late on. The rest of the Liga Zon Sagres contenders have been warned. While doubts remains over whether Hulk and Moutinho will be receiving their wages from the same employers this time next week, Porto set down a marker in no uncertain terms tonight.

FC Porto:
Helton, Danilo, Maicon, Otamendi, Alex Sandro, João Moutinho (Defour, 81’), Fernando, Lucho González (James Rodríguez, 76’), Hulk, Jackson Martinez, Atsu (Varela, 77’)

V. Guimarães:
Douglas, Alex, NDiaye, Defendi, Bruno Teles, El Adoua, André André, Ricardo, Barrientos (Marco Matias, 46, Lalkovic, 64), Toscano (Leonel Olímpio, 74’), Soudani

[1-0] Lucho González, 16’
[2-0] Hulk, 66’
[3-0] Lucho González, 71’
[4-0] Jackson Martínez, 80’ (pen)

Braga 3-1 Beira-Mar

micael-braga-20120825.jpgJosé Peseiro rested several first-team regulars ahead of Braga’s vital Champions League second-leg match against Udinese of Tuesday, but nevertheless the Arsenalistas were able to get the better of Beira-Mar with little difficulty on a sunny August afternoon at the AXA Stadium.

Rúben Micael, who started as substitute but impressed when coming on both last weekend against Benfica and against Udinese on Wednesday, was the star of the show, scoring a brace. Just before the half hour mark his shot from 20 yards out deflected off Beira-Mar centre-back Hugo and lobbed over Rui Rego to put Braga into the lead, and six minutes later the Portugal midfielder cracked in a second after being neatly set up by Carlão.

Braga were clearly conserving energy in a lacklustre second forty-five minutes, with Beira-Mar powerless to change the course of events. Ruben Amorim scored a fine third for the hosts on 86 minutes. The best goal of the match, however, was scored by Nildo in stoppage time, who smashed an unerring long-range shot past Quim for Beira-Mar’s consolation goal.

Braga: Quim, Baiano, Nuno André Coelho, Paulo Vinicius, Elderson, Custódio, Ruben Amorim, Ruben Micael, Hélder Barbosa (Djamal, 75’), Carlão (Zé Luís, 76’), Lima (Paulo César, 64’)

Rui Rego, Pedro Moreira, Hugo, Sasso, Joãozinho, Fleurival, Collet (Batatinha, 67’), Javier Balboa, Serginho (Jaime, 46’), Nildo, Abel Camará (Nuno Lopes, 67’) 

[1-0] Rúben Micael, 27’
[2-0] Rúben Micael, 33’
[3-0] Rúben Amorim, 86’
[3-1] Nildo, 93’

by Tom Kundert

Comments (4)
Good game by Porto & Braga
4 Sunday, 26 August 2012 16:16
Have to agree with Jon's comments.. I expect to see Braga fighting for a top spot this season.

As for Porto many good players on the game.. even my diving nemesis Hulk had a great game, as did Lucho who was phenomenal.. and even Martinez.. who could've scored a few more..

Looks like the ball is in Benfica's court to maintain the pace.
3 Sunday, 26 August 2012 15:19
I've been really impressed with Peseiro's Braga in every match I've watched this season. He's really done an excellent job turning them into a possession based team. The passing and off the ball movement is fantastic. And, yesterday's game showed that even their back-ups are good enough to win comfortably. Ruben Micael definitely deserves to start against Udinese.

I know that it's still very early in the season, but I think that Braga will be fighting for the title in the final weeks of the season. They've got quality, tactical flexibility, and depth on the bench. Definitely a recipe for a real contender.
No contest
2 Sunday, 26 August 2012 15:12
As a Benfiquista, I was rooting for Vitoria, but they were really poor. Porto were excellent, but Vitoria were disorganized defensively, sloppy in transition, and they couldn't hold on to the ball for more than 3 or 4 passes. Porto dominated and deserved to win, but Vitoria made it very easy for them.

They better get their act together if they want to avoid relegation.
1 Sunday, 26 August 2012 14:16
The scoreline flattered V.Guimaraes. Porto could've won 9-0, thats how bad Guimaraes were. 71% to 29% ball possession pretty much says it all.

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