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​​Dragons leave hell with eyes on the qualification

Felipe scored a goal that meant a tie for FC Porto against Besiktas (1-1) in matchday 5 of the Champions League

FC Porto kept the tradition and came out of Besiktas’ home alive again. This time, the Dragons didn’t win, as in the last two trips (2007/08 and 2010/11), but they reached a 1-1 tie in Istanbul, and now have seven points in Group G, four behind the Turkish two times champions, leaders of the group. With this result, the Dragons at least guarantee the qualification to Europa League, and are now aiming at beating Monaco on the last matchday, so they can move on to the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Sérgio Conceição bet on a starting team with five new faces in comparison to the one that faced Portimonense (3-2), for the Portuguese Cup: José Sá was in front of the goal, Herrera and Sérgio Oliveira returned to the midfield and Brahimi recovered his spot in the attack, keeping company with Aboubakar and Ricardo, who left the right wing of the defence, taken by Maxi.

The home team started better, pushed by the frenzied and deafening atmosphere created by their fans, with strong pressure, leading to FC Porto experiencing some difficulties in the first stage of creation, losing the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch. The Dragons came out alive from this moment of bigger pressure and gradually settled their game, approaching Fabri's goal, until they moved ahead of the scoreboard: a set-piece divided between Alex Telles and Ricardo had the Portuguese international star crossing low to the area, where Felipe came up, free of marking, and shot at the back of the net (29m) – it was the tenth blue and white goal in this edition of the Champions League, the seventh following a set piece, which is already one of the images of the team led by Sérgio Conceição.

Besiktas responded soon after, in a shot from Quaresma to which José Sá replied with a beautiful save. FC Porto, however, was on top at this point and was closer to the second goal: Aboubakar had it on his feet, but was unable to follow up on a good cross from Ricardo. “Those who don’t score, risk conceding”, as the old adagio in football goes, and that’s exactly what happened, with the “black eagles” reaching the tie, with Talisca, even before the break (41m).

The home team came back for the second-half different, not just because Medel going in to replace Tosic clearly improved their defensive transition, but also because they presented themselves as an even more pressing block, as had happened at the start of the first-half. The change in strategy of Senol Günes made FC Porto uncomfortable in the match, missing many passes that led to dangerous attacks for the Turkish team: first, Babel hit the post (58m), and, soon after, Quaresma shot for another great save by Sá (61m).

But that was the end of the pressure on the Dragons, as they were able to stabilize their game, rebalance operations and even scare the home team, with Ricardo, in the area and in good position, shooting just outside the post (62m) and then Marcano almost scoring from a header (85m). It was the last real play in a match where FC Porto got one point that might prove decisive for their goals in the biggest club competition in Europe.

See match report