Europa League watch: Porto, Lisbon win
- 21 February 2012 12:47
- Posted by Alex Rowen
Porto bounced back from the first leg disappointment against City with a 3-1 win away at bottom-of-the-table Vitoria FC.
Marc Janko’s third minute opener proved the perfect fillip before Brazilian midfielder Fernando doubled his side’s lead prior to the break.
Though the hosts pulled one back with 15 minutes remaining, Silvestre Varela extinguished any remaining Vitoria hopes just four minutes later to secure all three points for the Dragons.
Porto now lie just two points behind league leaders Benfica, who suffered their first loss of the season, blowing the title race wide open again.
Having claimed a late 2-2 draw away in Poland, Sporting Lisbon are favourites to meet the Blues in the Round of 16, should Roberto Mancini’s side progress.
Following just one win in six, Lisbon dispensed with coach Domingo Paciencia and replaced him with Ricardo Sa Pinto and the Lions responded with a 1-0 victory at home to struggling Paces de Ferreira thanks to a huge slice of fortune when Ricardo knocked into his own goal to seal the win.
Eight points adrift of the Champions League qualification places, Sporting’s best bet of success this season may be the Europa League and they’ll undoubtedly prove a threat should they face the Blues in the next round.
Polish outfit Legia Warsaw could still upset the odds, however, and knock their Portuguese opponents out of the competition in a bid to set up a possible meeting with Mancini’s Blues.
Now without a win in four in all competitions, Warsaw’s title hopes were dealt a further blow as a goal either side of half time condemned them to defeat at the hands of Gornik Zabrze.
As a result, Legia slipped to third and now sit five points behind Polish Premier League pace-setters Slask Wroclaw.