4-2 victory over Vitória de Guimarães, closing the first turn of the Portuguese League, assures the first place
When Raphinha opened the scoreboard this Sunday night (in possible offside, even if by a millimetre), FC Porto saw itself in an unprecedented situation in this edition of the League: behind on the scoreboard and forced to score at least two goals to win and keep the lead of the competition, as Sporting had already won in this matchday 17. The pressure was good and not an issue: four goals in the second-half fuelled the impressive average at Estádio do Dragão (3.3 goals per match) and secured the first place at the turn of the championship, something that hadn’t happened since 2010/11.
This result was achieved thanks to an absolutely demolishing second-half. And, even if the whole team needs to be mentioned in the process of the match, we have to mention the art of Brahimi – scorer of a brilliant goal in his 100th match in the Portuguese League - and Corona, and the two forwards, Aboubakar and Marega. The Cameroonian scored the goal that started the turnaround, 57 minutes in, and the Malian scored twice: both are now at 14 goals in the competition - they are third and fourth top scorers. And to make things even better, the momentum is now at eight consecutive victories and 17 matches without losing, for all competitions.
With Reyes and Óliver in the starting team, FC Porto dominated the entire first-half, but the break came with a 0-1 disadvantage, thanks to the goal scored by Raphinha, 22 minutes in, in the first of two shots Guimarães had in the first 45 minutes. However, halftime could have come with a different result, as there were two penalties on Marega, both for obvious grabs, and Rafael Miranda could also have been shown the second yellow card.
The blue and whites were already pushing on the opponent in the first-half, but the reaction to the disadvantage was devastating after the break. The speed and intensity on the pitch increased, and, 49 minutes in, Aboubakar missed the goal thanks to an extraordinary save by Douglas.
It would be the rehearsal for what would come next, as the Dragons would turn the score around in just five minutes: Aboubakar, receiving the pass from Corona, tied 57 minutes, and Brahimi made it 2-1 62 minutes in, in a brilliant move, in which he dribbled Jubal and lobbed Douglas. Estádio do Dragão was in ecstasy and FC Porto then gave priority to controlling the match, but the scoreboard would move again.
Marega, first receiving the pass from substitute Hernâni and then from Ricardo, scored twice, and the only reason why there isn’t another thrashing in the statistics is because Heldon made it 4-2, when the match was almost over. Nothing that could ruin the celebration: with 45 points - the same as in matchday 17 of season 2012/13, the last time the Dragons became champions -, FC Porto still has two more points than Sporting, second, and all eyes are set on reaching the goal first.