FC Porto beat Schalke (3-1), won Group D when there’s one matchday left to play and is in the Round of 16 of the Champions League
This Wednesday, FC Porto beat Schalke (3-1), at Estádio do Dragão, for matchday 5 of Group D of the Champions League. With the Round of 16 guaranteed as Lokomotiv Moscow beat Galatasaray (2-0), the Dragons will win Group D, regardless of what happens in the last matchday. With the goals scored by Éder Militão (52m), Corona (55m) and Marega (90+4), FC Porto beat the German vice-champion and qualified to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the 14th time.
FC Porto started the match with the qualification to the Round of 16 already confirmed, but, just like Sérgio Conceição had stated at the preview of the match, the national champions were thinking only of winning. In the first 20 minutes, two great opportunities for the Dragons, both saved by Ralf Fährmann, by Danilo (15m) and Marega (19m). Schalke didn’t scare the blue and white defence in the first-half, but the dominance the Dragons showed wasn’t seen on the scoreboard.
But everything changed in the second-half, when the superiority of FC Porto became even more obvious, and, this time, with goals. And it was two goals in just three minutes. 52 minutes in, Éder Militão scored his first as a Dragon after the perfect pass of Óliver Torres, beating the opposing goalkeeper in a header. 55 minutes in, Corona concluded an excellent team play, giving more comfort to the blue and white advantage, which was fully justified, it should be said.
Schalke was unable to stop this momentum and FC Porto was suffocating in the second-half, pushing the German vice-champion back, even if they were able to reduce by Bentaleb, from a penalty (89m). In stoppage time (90+4m), Marega made it 3-1 and scored again, his fourth consecutive match in Champions League, becoming the second player in the history of FC Porto to do it. In 1999/00, (Super) Mário Jardel scored in five consecutive matches.
The national champions reached their third victory in three matches at home in this group stage, and matched the record of the team led by Vítor Pereira in 2012/13. Should they beat Galatasaray in Turkey, for the last matchday, the blue and whites will reach 16 points, the number they reached in 1996/97, under the lead of António Oliveira, a team that counted on Sérgio Conceição as well.
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