Porto cruise past disappointing Dinamo

Champions League Group A, Stadion Maksimir - Dinamo Zagreb 0 FC Porto 2 ( Lucho 41, Defour 90)

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Silvestre Varela of Porto (R) vies with Marcelo Brozovic of Dinamo Zagreb during their UEFA Champions league group A football match

Porto were the much better team as they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners in their Champions League Group A opener against Dinamo Zagreb.

Lucho Gonzalez capitalised on a horrendous goalkeeping error deep into the first half to put his side ahead and the victory was wrapped up in second-half stoppage time when Steven Defour rounded off a swift counter attack.

Dinamo goalkeeper Ivana Kelava failed to deal with a low cross - one which he really should have either claimed or palmed away to safety - which allowed Gonzalez to slide the ball into an empty net from six yards.

In truth, Porto fully deserved all three points and sealed the victory in time added on, catching the home side on the counter attack as they poured forward searching for an equaliser.

All-action midfielder Defour was on hand to receive the ball unmarked and casually lifted the ball over the onrushing Kelava, ending any chances of a dramatic and undeserved equaliser.

Porto had dominated almost the entire 90 minutes as the hosts looked content to sit back, get men behind the ball and soak up pressure.

At times it looked like a training exercise for the reigning Portuguese champions with the instrumental trio of Joao Moutinho, Defour and Gonzalez playing the ball to one another almost at will.

Despite controlling the ball from the opening few minutes, it was the Croatian side that had the first effort at goal. Duje Cop superbly controlled a cross-field ball from Domagoj Vida and cut inside to send a fierce shot towards the front post from the edge of the area. Porto keeper Helton looked in a decent position to have the ball covered but looked worried as it flew narrowly wide.

From there on in the majority of the match was a one-sided affair with Porto enjoying as much as 67 per cent possession. However, it wasn’t until the 37th minute that Kelava was really tested.

Silvestre Varela – who has just signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2016 – caused havoc down the right flank on numerous occasions throughout the night and found space to whip in a dangerous ball. Veteran defender Josip Simunic showed his experience to track the winger and stick out a leg which sent the ball flying into the grateful arms of Kelava.

Moments later, the keeper illustrated a moment of madness when he gifted Jackson Martinez an open goal.

The keeper mis-controlled the simplest of back passes which allowed the striker to sneak in and steal the ball. The custodian tried to recover but could not get there and all Martinez had to do was stroke the ball into the net. He dwelled on for far too long, allowing Vida to clear the ball to safety.

That was just a slight reprieve for the hosts as they were picking the ball out of the back of their net just seconds later. The impressive Alex Sandro tore down the flank, beating the covering Arijan Ademi on the byline and sending a drilled cross towards goal. Kelava simply palmed it straight to Argentine Gonzalez who gratefully turned it goalwards.

Dinamo showed a brief spell of willingness to go forward in the opening minutes of the second half but when the goal failed to materialise they reverted back to sitting and hoping to break on the counter.

They could have had a goal on 63 minutes but were denied thanks to a splendid double save from Helton, first turning away Ante Rukavina’s acrobatic volley and then palming the ball away from under his crossbar.

Substitute Bryan Carrasco then had Dinamo’s best chance of the night with a free header at an open goal from six yards but failed to make sufficient contact to beat Helton.

The Croatian side poured forward in the dying minutes but were punished on the counter attack. They were the makers of their own downfall, yet again, as they sloppily gave the ball away which gifted Porto the chance to break.

Christian Atsu, who had been on for a number of minutes, was instrumental in the goal and found the unmarked Defour at the back post. The Belgian midfielder controlled perfectly before clipping the ball beyond the wrong-footed Kelava.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Josip Simunic - The veteran Croatian defender had a lot to do all night and, despite his team conceding two goals, he was outstanding in the heart of defence. Had he not been on top form, Porto would have ran riot.

PLAYER RATINGS

Dinamo Zagreb: Kelava 3, Pivarić 5, Šimunić 9, Tonel 6, Vida 5, Brozović 4, Calello 4, Ademi 4; Sammir 5, Rukavina 6, Čop 6 SUBS: Beciraj 5, Kovacic 5, Carrasco 4

FC Porto: Helton 5, Sandro 8, Otamendi 7, Maicon 6, Lopes 6; Moutinho 7, Defour 7, González 7, Rodríguez 6, Varela 8, Martinez 7 SUBS: Mangala 5, Kleber 7, Atsu 7.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

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