Sérgio Conceição was right: the match against Portimonense, after a week of national duty, was dangerous. The responsibility in this round for the Portuguese Cup was all on the Dragons, who, truth be said, didn’t play a brilliant game. But not one fan left the stadium disappointed with the belief of a team that, under great pressure, continued to fight and scored twice in the stoppage time - by Aboubakar and Brahimi -, confirming the qualification to the Round of 16 of the Portuguese Cup (3-2).
FC Porto - who started with Casillas, Danilo, Corona and Óliver in the team – pretty much opened the match with a goal: just after four minutes, Danilo scored, after a well taken, fully curved corner-kick taken by Alex Telles. But Portimonense, who, two months ago, left the Estádio do Dragão with a 5-2 defeat, was not intimidated and kept the positive football that has set their performance this season, even if they didn’t particularly threaten the Spanish goalkeeper.
The team from Algarve - who had only lost one of the five previous matches - showed much more quality from the midfield forward than on the defence, much because of the difficulties caused by the speed and use of space by the blue and whites. Alex Telles was having a great performance and was involved in three clear goal situations for FC Porto between minutes 16 and 18, two of them also from set pieces.
The best opportunity for the 2-0, however, came from Corona, who was sent forward by André André, but shot against Felipe Macedo when he had the goal open. Portimonense, as stated, was playing head to head, and, on one of the occasions when they came close to the blue and white goal, they reached the tie through Wellington, taking advantage of the rebound from a shot by Nakajima.
In the second-half, the tendency remained: FC Porto had more ball possession, but the opponent was also able to pass it around in the midfield, showing more safety on the defence. Sérgio Conceição changed the team 53 minutes in, sending in Brahimi to replace Hernâni; but by then Vítor Oliveira's team had already fallen back, and played more cynically. Facing a blue and white team with less intensity than usual, the strategy paid-off with a moment of inspiration from Pedro Sá, who made it 2-1 on minute 69, with an unstoppable shot, in the first shot on target in the second-half.
Sérgio Conceição reacted immediately sending in striker André Pereira, from FC Porto B, removing midfielder André André, and then sent in Layún. There were no more cards to play and that team had to beat an opponent that tried to resist by all means. The red card shown to Felipe Macedo, 78 minutes in, allowed for one last attempt that proved to be a success after 90 minutes of regular time, by Aboubakar, receiving a pass from Alex, when the blue and white coach had already been sent-off from the bench.
The pressure didn’t stop, as the Dragons wanted to undo the tie without extra time. And then, five minutes after the full 90, Brahimi made it 3-2, with a precious cooperation from newcomer André Pereira. The stadium blew up in celebration, after the 14th anniversary celebrated the day before, and spirits will be lighter for the UEFA Champions League: next, there is a decisive match at the home of Besiktas (Tuesday, 17h00 mainland Portugal time).