FC Porto beat Nacional, 3-1, and continues to increase the advantage at the top of the league
FC Porto beat Nacional, 3-1, reached the 18th consecutive victory - matching the best record in the history of Portuguese football - and continues to strengthen the lead in the league. The national champions increased their advantage at the top of the table for the third consecutive matchday, increasing the gap to the second place from two to six points, as the direct opponents continue to lose points.
The blue and whites team showed strength before the classic against Sporting, at Estádio de Alvalade, which will close the first round of the championship. Four matches will follow after that - or five, depending on the performance in the League Cup – away from Estádio do Dragão.
Sérgio Conceição did only one change in the starting team, with Mbemba replacing Felipe, banned. Yacine Brahimi, who was injured in the match against Desportivo das Aves, recovered in time and ended up giving a decisive contribution to the victory over Nacional.
In the first match at Estádio do Dragão in 2019, the national champions started on top and soon aimed for goal. Daniel Guimarães prevented Moussa Marega from scoring seven minutes in, following a pass from Jesús Corona. Soares missed the spare.
Revisiting FC Porto, Costinha kept the structure usually used by Nacional. Danilo threated to score again, following a corner-kick taken by Alex Telles, but the pace lowered after that and the visiting team started to improve.
Iker Casillas responded to a shot from João Camacho (20m) in stye, and the team led by Sérgio Conceição, reacting to the sense of danger, improved again. The fantastic heel touch from Brahimi, 25 minutes in, allowing Jesús Corona to cross should be mentioned, even if Júlio César anticipated and prevented Marega from scoring.
Nacional finally broke after the first half hour. Maxi insisted on the right wing, and passed for Brahimi to score with his right foot. Maxi, cheered by his teammates after the 1-0, would also be linked to the second goal for the Dragons. The Uruguayan sent Corona forward on the right and the stadium got another glimpse of the genius of the Mexican. Tecatito's dribbled an opponent in style and crossed to a beautiful header from Tiquinho Soares (38m).
FC Porto reached an important advantage in just six minutes, but they were facing one of the best attacks in the league in away matches, as Sérgio Conceição pointed out in the conference that previewed the match. Nacional, taking advantage of a moment of distraction for the Dragons, made it 2-1, by Rochez. Soares was still close to celebrating again on two occasions - a shot just outside the post and an offside - but the break came with the minimum advantage.
The second-half of the game started with a terrible moment (a clash between Rosic and his goalkeeper), leading to the second forced substitution on the opponent side. On the way out, the defender received an ovation from the blue and white fans. Close to the end of the match, Corona and Brahimi scored the third goal of the national champions. The Mexican passed forward to the Algerian and, after preparing the shot, Brahimi scored his second in the match. With the mission accomplished, the winger was replaced minutes later, with Adrián Lopez taking his place.
FC Porto controlled the pace of the match throughout the second-half without losing sight of the goal. Marega, for example, was very close to scoring after a beautiful pass from Danilo. Nacional also tried to score, but didn’t change the outcome of the match. A final note for the debut of reinforcement Fernando Andrade. 18th consecutive victory for the Dragons, reinforcing the lead in the League. Next up is the classic against Sporting, at Estádio de Alvalade.
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