This Saturday, FC Porto tied in the away game against Belenenses, by 1-1, for the ninth fixture of the Portuguese League. The Dragons were in the lead, with a goal scored by Mangala, but the home team scored shortly after and held on to the tie until the end. Even if it wasn’t a great performance, the white and blue created enough opportunities to win, but were unlucky.
Despite the tie, against a well-organized Belenenses, in a pitch in bad conditions, FC Porto is still in the lead in the competition, three points ahead of the second position. And the team remains undefeated for the competition since January 2012. Highlights go to the debut of Ricardo in the starting team, with a good performance and several runs in the right of the offence.
FC Porto had more ball possession and initiative from the first minute, against a Belenenses that was aiming at fast counter-attacks to get to the white and blue box. There were goal situations for both sides, but the goal came in the first real opportunity of the match, 30 minutes in. Danilo hit a free-kick on the left, Mangala headed the ball in, making it 1-0, with the ball deflecting on an opposing defender.
The Dragons didn’t have time to enjoy the lead, as Belenenses tied the match three minutes later: Fredy crossed from the left, Mangala didn’t realise João Pedro was behind him and the Portuguese striker was free to shoot for goal. Helton was helpless.
At FC Porto, any mistake is made by the team, and not one player, and in the second-half the team realised they would have to do more to get the victory. With an increase in speed and aggression, the Dragons created three goal situations in the first 20 minutes of the second-half: 50 minutes in, Varela crossed on the left and Ricardo shot, but Matt Jones saved it; 63 minutes in, Danilo crossed for a header by Jackson, in the back of the defence, but the Colombian striker missed the goal; shortly after, Danilo also shot outside the post.
Despite the improvement, FC Porto still missed too many passes and had problems in keeping the pressure over Belenenses, who was closing lines more and more. A shot over the top bar, by Herrera, 71 minutes in, in good position, was the best goal situation the Dragons created in the last minutes of the game. Even with Ghilas going in, 79 minutes in, FC Porto was unable to deconstruct the wall raised by the home team, who had only one goal situation in the second-half: 83 minutes in, Diakité headed the ball, forcing Helton to a tight save.