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The flame of the Dragon warms any winter

Great performance for FC Porto and a 3-0 victory against Rio Ave, but it could have been by a bigger advantage

FC Porto beat Rio Ave at home (3-0) this Thursday, at Estádio do Dragão, in a match that had been postponed, matchday one of Group D of the League Cup. Soares (11m), Marega (21m) and Aboubakar (90m) scored the goals for the Dragons, who now split the lead with Leixões, both with four points, but the the blue and whites have the advantage in goal average.

Any true lover of good football has to admire this FC Porto, an insatiable team when looking for ways to score. The first 45 minutes against the team from Vila do Conde was an anthem to attacking soccer, but high pressure also needs to be taken into account, as that’s even how the first goal of the night was achieved, with Soares. There is much merit to the Brazilian striker's shot, but Herrera's assist with his heel is undoubtedly the most wonderful detail of the play (11m).

The goal seemed to be redemption for Soares, as, two minutes in, receiving the pass from Marega, he missed the shot with a wide open goal. FC Porto's steamroller didn’t give Rio Ave a break, and the opponent barely attacked in the first-half. Marega could have scored on two occasions (19m and 20m), but the third time was a charm: Brahimi passed forward for the Malian striker, who dribbled Cassio before pushing the ball inside the empty goal (21m). After 12 goals for Liga NOS, Marega made his debut of goals in the League Cup.

The break came with FC Porto winning 2-0, but the difference could have been much bigger had the Dragons scored from the handful of clear opportunities they had. Nothing that removes the brightness to a demolishing and exciting first-half, full of skilful moments. The second-half started as the first ended, with FC Porto attacking. Just two minutes after the restart, Soares missed the 3-0 in the face of Rui Vieira, missing the target by centimetres (47m). Shortly afterwards, the opponent threatened to score, but Yuri Ribeiro failed to beat Casillas (52m).

On the night Estádio do Dragão bid farewell to 2017 breaking the 600.000 attendants this season, the only negative moment came when Danilo was sent-off, after being shown two yellow cards. The corner flag was the victim of the midfielder’s frustration, but Nuno Almeida and his assistants were too cautious and there was no need for this. Even down to ten men, it would be FC Porto scoring again. Pelé was shown the red card for tackling Aboubakar from behind inside the area and the Cameroonian striker took the penalty, scoring his 22nd goal in 2017/18 (90m).

The number 9 has already scored in all competitions and is the biggest aspect of a team that wants to fight for and win all the trophies it can. Blue and white will be the predominant colours for Christmas and not even the winter that arrived today has what it takes to resist the flame of this Dragon.

See match report