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Classic unfairness in a handbook of mistakes

FC Porto was far better than Benfica, but couldn’t counter a terrible job from the refereeing team (0-0)

FC Porto gave all they had and fought to exhaustion, but the classic against Benfica ended 0-0, and didn’t show the great superiority of the blue and whites throughout the 90 minutes. Matchday 13 of Liga NOS left the Dragons tied with Sporting in the lead, but the numbers would be different if Jorge Sousa and his assistant had done their job. If there are matches where the referee has influence on the result, this was one of them.

The first minutes of the classic were far from being a great show and had two teams matching each other too much, but FC Porto started growing in the match as time went by. Danilo made the first warning in a bicycle kick (24m) and started the rise of the Dragons, who would again threaten to score through Herrera (31m) and Alex Telles (35m). Before all that, Jardel had already tackled Marega for a penalty, but it wasn’t flagged (19m).

Without real chances for either side, FC Porto again had reasons to complain of the referee team right before the break, as Jorge Sousa and video-referee Hugo Miguel decided to turn a blind eye to a hand of Luisão in the area (45m). Another penalty for FC Porto that wasn’t given and the red captain should have been sent-off, as, minutes before, he had already been shown a yellow card. More of the same, it seems.

The mistakes, almost worthy of a handbook, continued in the second-half, with a truly unbelievable offside signalled to Aboubakar. Following a play that should not have been cancelled, Herrera beat Bruno Varela, but the goal that should have counted, didn’t count (57m). Even against all these adversities, FC Porto was overwhelming in the second 45 minutes, in which Benfica did little more than play for the tie.

The intense offensive flow of FC Porto had no practical effects, but there were plenty of opportunities to score and confirm the absolute dominance. Marega (58m, 86m and 90m + 3), Herrera (64m) and Felipe (68m) came close to the goal, but the outcome of this match was destined to be a classic injustice: the team that did the most to win didn’t.

See match report