Hulk was the king of scorers at Estádio do Dragão, but this Wednesday the throne was inherited by Jackson, who, with two goals, was instrumental in the victory over Académica (4-1) and in the qualification for the semi-finals of the League Cup. The Colombian striker, who scored his 45th goal at the white and blue stadium, got the record in style, with a shot that will run the globe: in a volley, following a corner hit by Tello, shot with his back-heel, achieving the record in the best possible way, with a move full of technique that Madjer made famous and that is already common at this house. And it was also full of symbolism that Gonçalo Paciência celebrated the third goal for the white and blues, as he debuted scoring for the senior team at age 20, on his third game, just like his father, Domingos. Evandro settled the scoreboard, from a penalty.
Nothing special had happened in the match yet when Jackson Martínez, on the first shot for FC Porto, scored the first goal of the evening. The striker took advantage of a slipup of Aníbal Capela to get the ball and shoot for goal. Unlike what happened in other matches, the Dragons were effective and scored early, which calmed the team. In the following minutes, Tello came close to scoring on two occasions, but, 11 minutes in, he allowed the goalkeeper to save it and, 15 minutes in, he shot outside the post. The white and blue dominance in the first-half was absolute and was made possible thanks to far superior aggression to that of the visiting team and by excellent ball possession in the opposite midfield.
Despite the excellent game organisation by Rúben Neves, the white and blues had difficulties in creating dangerous situations against the extremely defensive tactic used by Académica. The visitors seemed to be happy with just positioning players in front of goal to get in the way of the Dragons, who, it has to be said, were in fact losing the ball, but would quickly recover it, as Académica just refused to attack. Still about the first-half, it should also be mentioned that there was a clear tackle in the area on Jackson, 41 minutes in (which the referee, Tiago Martins, in good position, decided to ignore), and that Jackson found himself alone in front of the keeper in stoppage time, but missed the goal completely.
The second-half started with Tello coming close to the goal again on two occasions, but the Spanish winger was definitely on a bad day. Jackson, on the other hand, was on another good day and, after scoring his second goal of the night, was replaced by Gonçalo Paciência under a standing ovation. The match seemed settled, but Mbala, 72 minutes in, made it 2-1 and seemed to get the opposing team’s hopes up. The goal, however, only made the Dragons more eager. Académica got excited and moved up their lines, and FC Porto made them pay for that. The 3-1 came with Gonçalo Paciência, after a good individual play, and, later, the young striker was also tackled in the box by João Real, giving Evandro the chance to score from a penalty, 80 minutes in, closing the scoreboard.
FC Porto was able to assure the lead in Group D, with ten points, and will now be facing Marítimo for the semi-finals of the League Cup, in Madeira, on the 11th or the 12th of February.