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7/20/2017

Positive signs at the home of the Mexican champion

Team lost a two goal advantage in the second-half (2-2), but the ideas of Sérgio Conceição are starting to show


This Thursday night (still Wednesday night in Mexico), FC Porto drew 2-2 at the home of Chivas, after ending the first-half with a 2-0 lead, thanks to the goals scored by Aboubakar (two minutes in) and Otávio (38m). Despite allowing for the recovery of the opponent, what stood out the most in this performance of the Dragons was the commitment to take in the ideas of the new coach and, especially in the first-half, these ideas had practical results. Fatigue and the many exchanges in the second 45 minutes allowed Chivas to recover, even if they did score from the only two dangerous situations they created, but the result was less important than the display evolution in the final chapter of this Aztec tour.

Sérgio Conceição kept eight players from the team that started the match two days ago, against Cruz Azul, with special mention for the defence, which retained exactly the same four players. And what could be seen was precisely a reinforcement of the principles shown in the match played in Mexico City: mobility and pressure, with the fullbacks moving forward, and objectivity in the portion of the pitch. Three days into the Torneio Apertura of the Mexican League, Chivas didn’t send in many of the usual starts, resorting to players from the youth squads, identifiable by the three numbers on their jersey. However, it was the high performance put on by the blue and whites that caused the most difficulties to the home team.

The Dragons got to the lead on minute two: the play seemed lost, but the pressure and a bad cut from a defender allowed Aboubakar to go alone in front of the keeper and score. The early goal gave confidence to the blue and whites and unsettled the team from Guadalajara: the result at halftime could have been quite big, as there was a number of opportunities to increase the advantage, especially by Otávio (he shot outside the post in front of goal, 31 minutes in), and Aboubakar (hit the post, 32m, after a cross from Ricardo). After three substitutions, FC Porto made it 2-0 on minute 38, with little Otávio heading in the heart of the area, responding to a cross from Herrera, one of the players who had entered just before.

Chivas changed all eleven players at halftime, sending in some of its stars, but FC Porto continued to dominate until the first goal scored by the home team, by José Juan Macías, 57 minutes in, following a free-kick taken quickly, almost imperceptibly and questionable legality. This allowed the Mexicans to breathe in and apply more pressure in the next few minutes, but that didn’t last, as the blue and whites, though much less flamboyant, balanced the match again and could even have made it 3-1, with Sérgio Oliveira. The game seemed to run to the end without much to tell, but Chivas made it 2-2 on the second danger situation they created, through Carlos Fierro, after a good play. By then, Vaná was already in front of goal, in an absolute debut in blue and white. The penalty shootout did not happen, as foreseen in the regulation, due to the intransigence of the referee in ordering Sérgio Conceição to leave the pitch, something that was not accepted by Chivas’ coach and old friend Matías Almeyda.

It was a positive test for Porto, with Reyes and Danilo remaining as the only two players not used, as they have been physically conditioned, and goalkeeper João Costa. The Dragons will start their journey back to Portugal shortly after the match, and are scheduled to arrive at 16h30 on Thursday; their next opponent is Vitória de Guimarães, in a friendly scheduled for 20h30 on Sunday. There are tickets for sale at five euros for that match, which will be broadcast live on Sport TV 1.

See match report
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