Less than 72 hours after the disappearance of one of their main objectives (the Portuguese Cup recapture), FC Porto did not fail in a competition where there is no room for error. After the victory of Sporting, the “Dragons” scored an early goal when Gil Vicente’s field visited and only the good performance of goalkeeper Denis prevented the Porto 2-0 triumph from being extended any longer. Although FC Porto had won three important points, they left Barcelos with two serious problems for Turin, where they will face Juventus next Tuesday: Pepe and Corona left the break with physical problems.
Given the surprising reliability of Sporting at the top of the standings and the very fierce competition in the battle for places that will allow access to the presence in the Champions League, which is vital for financial equilibrium, Sérgio Conceição did not risk management of Barcelos, though he is only a few days away from discussing a place in the Champions quarter-finals with Juventus.
However, after the indigestible defeat to Sp.Braga in Dragão mid-week that dictated the withdrawal from the Portuguese Cup final, Conceição had a major victim: Chancel Mbemba, who suffered tendinitis in his left knee against Braga. In place of the Congolese center, Diogo Leite advanced and was the other novelty on the left side of the defense – Nanú replaced Zaidu.
Ricardo Soares, on the other hand, had more time to prepare for the reception at FC Porto, but he also had a light weight: captain Rúben Fernandes, who was sent off on the last day in Tondela. Without his defensive “pillar”, the technician relied on a cautious strategy and an “eleven” that clearly lagged behind: five defenders, with the “lion” Pedro Marques, who began as a starter, playing alone in the attack.
However, the Gilista strategy fell after seven minutes. With a strong start, it didn’t take FC Porto long to push the Barcelenses into their area and had an advantage after a free kick: After a corner and a few rebounds, the ball stayed in the area for Uribe and the Colombians took the opportunity to to score the third goal in the championship.
Gil Vicente, formatted to defend himself, did not respond. FC Porto continued to play at will and were close to goal several times. However, Denis managed to keep the Gilistas’ disadvantage at the minimum margin until the break, although the statistics confirmed a clear superiority of Porto: 69% of possession; 5: 0 at the gate; 7-2 in corners.
Despite the comfort FC Porto felt in Barcelos, the return of the teams from the dressing rooms confirmed unpleasant news for Sérgio Conceição on the eve of a duel with Juventus: after physical complaints were brought up in the first part, Pepe and Corona were replaced.
However, the changes had no prejudice for the “dragons”. Since Gil Vicente maintained a “zero risk” – Ricardo Soares only broke up the defensive quintet after 75 minutes – FC Porto were still closer to goal than to Leiden, and the (fair) second goal “blue and white” in which he barely showed up time: Sérgio Oliveira scored his 15th goal of the season with a great shot from outside, one more than in the last four seasons combined, and gave his team a sense of serenity.
Until the end, despite his head in Turin and clear operations management, FC Porto still celebrated third place, but in the 90th minute Evanilson saw another goal that VAR invalidated from Luiz Díaz’s game.