Almost a year after winning the Second Portuguese League (2015/16), FC Porto B won another title this Wednesday, this time internationally, as they won the Premier League International Cup. This Wednesday afternoon, the Dragons beat Sunderland's Under-23 team at their home (Stadium of Light), by 5-0, and raised the trophy after reaching the semi-finals in the previous two editions (2015/16) and the final (2014/15).
It was a nearly perfect story that the blue and whites wrote in this final, which, it needs to be said, had a happy beginning, middle and ending. The saying goes that finals are meant to be won and the team led by António Folha remained focused on that, and it took them only five minutes to prove it. That’s how long Fede Varela took to show the first of many dribbles with his right boot, with Galeno beating goalkeeper Stryjek. The Brazilian forward, determinant in the semi-final, went in determined to do his job and made it 1-0, scoring from a beautiful play of pure offensive soccer.
Not less enlightened in the match was Fede Varela. The Spanish-Argentinian player created the play that ended with Galeno being tackled in the area, but Kayembe wasted the opportunity (29m), in what was perhaps the “worst” moment of the Dragons in the match. But the same Fede Varela was the inspiration behind the second goal. This time, Fernando was there to assist Galeno – after a pass from Varela –, who, as usual, didn’t fail.
The dominance of the blue and whites in the first-half was absolute and it was only natural that the advantage was extended to 3-0 even before the break. The talent of Kayembe and the sense of opportunity of André Pereira showed up: the first found his space in the area with class and assisted, with his right foot, the striker in the far post for an easy goal (47m).
The three goals advantage at halftime gave the Dragons comfort, but didn’t take away all hope from the home team. This was clear in the strong start of the second-half, as Sunderland came close to scoring on two occasions in two minutes. Still, that reaction from the English team only served to wake up the blue and white players for the remaining 45 minutes that separated them from an unprecedented international conquest.
As had already happened at the end of the first-half, Kayembe was the man to watch again. He started the play that ended in the 4-0, actually scoring with his right foot inside the area, after Fernando crossed to Fede Varela. That was 51 minutes in, just four minutes before the final 5-0. This time, from a set piece, there were two defenders in the play: Inácio took the free-kick and Chidozie made a notable effort to score, setting the final result.
Winning 5-0, the players could finally rest and actually wasted some chances to score more before the final whistle. There were no more goals, but the competition was won and with a remarkable record of six victories, two draws and one defeat, with 14 goals scored and only one conceded.
SUNDERLAND UNDER-23-FC PORTO B, 0-5
Premier League International Cup, final
May 17, 2017
Stadium of Light, Sunderland (England)
Referee: P. Wright
Assistant referees: L.Freeman and O.Bickle
Fourth official: M.Coy
SUNDERLAND Under-23: Stryjek, Robson, Donald Love, Thomas Beadling, Denver Hume, Greenwood, Ethan Robson (cap.), Gooch, Embleton, Joshua Maja and Joel Asoro
Substitutions: Ethan Robson for Luke Molyneux (45m), Robson for Andrew Nelson (60m) and Gooch for Gamble (76m)
Not used: Brotherton, Talbot, Daniel Wright and Dan Casey
Coach: Elliot Dickman
FC PORTO B: Gudiño, Fernando, Chidozie, Rui Moreira, Inacio, Omar Govea, Francisco Ramos (cap.), Fede Varela, Kayembe, Galeno and André Pereira
Substitutions: Fede Varela for Graça (64m), André Pereira for Ismael (69m) and Kayembe for Verdasca (76m)
Not used: Ricardo Silva, Ismael, Rui Pires, Musa and Tony Djim
Coach: António Folha
At halftime: 0-3
Scorers: Galeno (5m and 37m), André Pereira (45+2m), Kayembe (51m), and Chidozie (55m)
Bookings: yellow card to Gooch (57m) and Donald Love (59m)