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Zaidu’s single goal in stoppage time silenced the home fans in FC Porto’s talisman stadium and confirmed the title

Shout loudly, because Futebol Clube do Porto is the new national champion. Returning to the stage that led to a similar celebration in 2011, the Dragons kept the tradition of winning in Estádio da Luz, reaching the hundredth victory in the 250th classic against Benfica, and celebrated the 30th title in the Portuguese League. Zaidu put on the mask of unlikely hero five minutes into stoppage time, scored the only goal of the evening, got the three points for the blue and whites and made the Porto Nation take to the streets all over the country.

João Mário, playing instead of Fábio Vieira, subbed, and behind Pepê on the left wing,  had the first significant moment of the classic when, four minutes in, was tackled by Vertonghen, who dodged a card. Facing a Benfica playing high on the pitch, FC Porto started the match playing carefully and only truly started to push after the quarter of an hour: first Otávio passed beautifully to Mehdi Taremi, but the Iranian striker failed to follow up, in good position, and then Evanilson shot weak and Vlachodimos saved it. Cold and aware that a tie was enough to win the title, the blue and whites were, nevertheless, the only ones creating danger in the first 45 minutes, in a first-half that was losing flair as time went by and that ended in tie in both goals (zero) and in yellow cards shown (two), but not in the number of chances.

The start of the second-half could not have been more different. Only 20 seconds after the resume of the match, Evanilson pulled his left foot back, shot with power and forced the home goalkeeper to a great save. Six minutes later, the only moment of celebration for the fans of the third team in the table: two centimetres in offside, Darwin fooled Mbemba, found the back of the net and celebrated the soon to be disallowed goal as if it was a title. Much to the desperation of the Uruguayan forward, and of a good portion of the stands, the VAR called the offside and the scoreboard remained unchanged. With Galeno replacing Evanilson, and after Otamendi pushed Taremi in the area, Vertoghen again dodged the yellow card and a bad pass from Gilberto almost anticipated what would prove to be inevitable.

Three minutes before the end of regular time, Eustaquio and Toni Martínez replaced Vitinha and Taremi, just before Diogo Costa reminded everyone he was there to keep the clean sheet after a good shot from the home team. On minute ninety, Yaremchuk was shown what should be a yellow-almost-red card and the fourth official indicated six minutes of stoppage time. Lisbon shivered when there were just a few minutes to go: Pepê recovered the ball in the back, ran to the other side and lobbed a great pass to Zaidu, with the Nigerian fullback delivering the final blow, putting the ball into the top corner of the goal, and making the over three thousand blue and white fans at the stadium roar in celebration. When the final whistle was blown, the soundtrack at Estádio da Luz gained a Northern accent and yelled “we are champions”. And we are!

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