Euro watch: Porto go marching on
- 28 December 2011 09:37
- Posted by Alex Rowen
Europa League holders Porto provide the next hurdle in City’s path to European success this season and the Portuguese giants will provide stiff opposition if their domestic form is anything to go by.
A 2-1 win over rock bottom Pacos de Ferreira completed a run of three successive victories and lifted Porto to the top of the table as the club heads into the winter break.
Though their trip to Pacos proved no walk in the park, a second-half penalty was enough to see Vitor Pereira’s side claim all three points and replace title rivals Benfica at the top of the Primeira Liga.
Cristian Rodriguez’s early strike was cancelled out just after the quarter- hour mark, only for Porto’s Brazilian favourite Hulk to come good from the spot 20 minutes from time.
A trip to Sporting Lisbon now awaits Porto when they return in January, and the Lions may also lay in wait for City if both sides progress to the next round of the Europa League.
They held off the threat of being leap-frogged in the table by their fifth-placed opposition as they defeated ten-man Maritimo with three second-half goals.
Sporting already led through Andre Carillo’s opener when Brazilian defender Igor saw red in what proved to be a tempestuous affair which produced ten yellow cards.
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel’s penalty doubled Lisbon’s advantage on the hour and left ex-Liverpool defender Emiliano Insua to wrap the game up with just eight minutes left on the clock.
Legia Warsaw, City's alternative round of 16 opposition, have been enjoying their winter break for a week longer than their Portuguese counterparts and don’t return to domestic action until their trip to Gornik Zabrze on 19 February.