This Sunday afternoon, FC Porto retook the leadership of Liga NOS, after beating Desportivo de Chaves 4-0, for matchday 22. At Estádio Engenheiro Manuel Branco Teixeira, the Dragons gave a lesson in offensive and effective football, making it look easy what objectively wasn’t: Chaves hadn’t lost at home since the end of August.
The first minutes of the match were the best mirror of what was going to happen for 90 minutes: good football. To this, the attitude of the two teams must be praised, as both went in aiming at the essence of the game: to play fast, to attack and, of course, to score goals. In this task, the last one, the blue and whites came out on top, also because, it should be said, they were always the ones who did the most for it.
Two minutes in and Herrera had the first shot on goal, with António Filipe probably still not sure of how he stopped the goal for the blue and white captain. Next, there were some good plays from Otávio, first passing to Soares, who had a goal denied on the touchline, and then to Corona, who, after dribbling Bressan, crossed for goal, but there was no one to receive it. And then, finally, the duo Sérgio Oliveira-Soares came up, just like in the last match, and it worked again. The midfielder again assisted the striker to the goal, this time with a shot with the left foot.
Chaves reacted, and Jose Sá did the save of the afternoon, 22 minutes in, which legitimized the blue and white advantage that would be doubled on minute 28. On the right, Maxi waited, looked at Soares, and sent him a perfect cross. The Brazilian saw it and used his right foot for a great volley. As for António Filipe, he could do nothing but watch as the ball hit the net.
Always played in high pace, the first-half could have had more: Corona and Soares worked for Marega, but Maras prevented the 3-0 (32m), which would come in the second-half, with another player in the mix. Otávio, one of the surprises in the starting team, was always a headache for the home team, sometimes from the centre, sometimes from the wing. His heel found Marega, 57 minutes in, and the forward became the new top scorer for the blue and whites in the championship (16).
From there until the end, FC Porto took control of the match, balanced and playing more with the head than with the heart. After all, the three points were guaranteed (and the lead in the championship too), and Wednesday brings Liverpool. But there was more to come: those who left the stadium earlier missed the best, as Herrera and Sérgio Oliveira built a true work of art. The Mexican passed, Sérgio Oliveira received it and the vicious shot for the 4-0 rival the “masterpiece” of Maxi and Soares, done a few minutes earlier.
Mission accomplished, and in style, in the championship, so now is time to think of the first leg of the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, one of the most anticipated matches of the year for the Dragons.