It became a habit, a good one. This Saturday, FC Porto beat Vitória de Guimarães 3-0, in the first matchday of the 2015/16 Liga NOS, keeping the tradition of winning whenever they start the championship at Estádio do Dragão, which was full to make history and break the record of ten million spectators. Two goals from Aboubakar and another one from Varela were the pinnacles of a promising performance, which deserved a bigger scoreboard, to be overwhelming.
Today, exactly one year ago, the white and blues welcomed Marítimo, in the debut for the Portuguese League, also with a full house. That’s one of the few points in common to that match. From the team that started the match today, only three players remained – Maicon, Alex Sandro and Herrera – joined by two other players from last year, Tello and Aboubakar. Everyone else was new: Casilas, Maxi, Danilo Pereira, Imbula and Varela.
At the preview of the match, Julen Lopetegui reminded that he was rebuilding a new team, but still, at this early stage, it is starting to show some automations, which allowed for a strong start and an immediate assault at the goal defended by Douglas. The first warning came from Imbula, with a shot in the heart of the area, missing the goal (6m). It was truly a warning, as the goal came in the next play, after a good job on the wing, which is a signature move of this FC Porto led by Lopetegui: a good movement between Alex Sandro and Varela, the defender crossed and Aboubakar scored the first of the night (8m).
The first-half meant complete dominance for the white and blues, who got to 63% ball possession and several occasions to make it 2-0, against an opponent that was never able to stop the intensity the Dragons used in every play – thanks to a quick reaction when losing the ball – and incapable of dealing with the constant movement from Aboubakar. The only sign of life from Guimarães came with Alex, who forced Iker Casillas to a tight, but safe stop.
The Spanish goalkeeper would prove decisive in the first minutes of the second-half, when he skilfully stopped a shot by Tozé (51m). If FC Porto appeared dormant by then, the Dragons immediately woke up and didn’t take long to answer. Tello wasn’t able to score only because João Afonso stopped the ball on the touch line, and, in the spare, Imbula hit the post. But the second goal would come minutes later, from Aboubakar again, assisted by Maxi, as the striker shot a missile that only stopped inside the net. It would seem that Aboubakar has a canon for feet.
With André André and Evandro on the pitch, bringing more ball control, the game again had only one way and the Cameroonian striker almost got a hat-trick on two occasions (69m and 88m), but it was Varela, coming back to Estádio do Dragão with a vengeance, who closed the scoreboard and set a promising performance.