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12/6/2017

With authority in the Round of 16

Dragons beat Monaco 5-2 and are among the 16 best teams in Europe


FC Porto are in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League for the 13th time, after beating Monaco by 5-2 with two from Aboubakar - who has already scored five goals in the competition - and Brahimi, Alex Telles and Soares. The Dragons didn’t want to wait for news from Leipzig - where the home club actually lost - and quickly tried to secure the three points (they were winning 3-0 at halftime) and get to the ten points mark they needed to assure the second place in Group G, behind Besiktas.

The Dragons were above all strong and effective: they didn’t give an easy time to Monaco's attack – the French team was already eliminated from European competitions, but had a strategy clearly set in counterattack designed by Leonardo Jardim – and, whenever they reached the area, the Dragons created difficulties. The duo Brahimi and Aboubakar, which led to two of the first three goals, was decisive for a victory that confirmed FC Porto as, once again, the only Portuguese club to reach the last 16.

Before starting the match, Sérgio Conceição had a bad surprise: Otávio had to stay out of the team due to a last minute injury, and André André, the only news in regards to Friday's classic, went in. But when the ball began to roll, good news soon came: Aboubakar's early goal nine minutes in (after a great Brahimi pass) gave the blue and whites an important comfort for what was to come.

Dominant and more objective than a shy opponent, FC Porto ended the first-half with a comfortable lead. Aboubakar made it 2-0 on minute 33 - after an attack that started on the right, but that came to the left, to the Cameroonian’s feet, who dribbled Glik before beating Benaglio - and the 3-0 came just before the break, this time with Aboubakar passing to Brahimi for a classy finish.

Between the two goals, Ghezzal and Felipe were sent-off, after a disagreement initiated by the opponent, which ended up being decisive for a second-half that had everything to be boring, but that instead became more open.

The opponent made it 3-1, 61 minutes in, from penalty, by Glik, after a play in which the referee considered Marcano played the ball with his hand – too bad that he didn’t see two other plays for penalty in Monaco’s area. More stretched out on the pitch than in the first-half, Monaco was also seeing the ball getting to their area more frequently, and, in a beautiful crossed shot with his left foot, Alex Telles made it 4-1, four minutes later, that killed any chance of recovery for the opponent.

Even before the final whistle, the match continued to be entertaining, as former blue and white coach Quinito would say, and had two more goals: Falcao, returning to Estádio do Dragão, made it 4-2, 77 minutes in, and was applauded; Soares, who replaced Aboubakar, still had time to secure a 5-2 win 88 minutes in. This time FC Porto didn’t win 3-0, as in the previous two official matches, but again won by three goals.

See match report
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