Europa League watch: Porto hit back
- Tue 07 Feb 2012, 11:24AM
- Posted by Alex Rowen
Europa League opponents Porto bounced back from last week’s unexpected league defeat with success in the League Cup.
The club’s meeting with bottom-of-the-league Vitoria Setubal couldn’t have been timelier. Following their first loss in 55, Porto needed an immediate return to winning ways and without a victory in six themselves, Setubal proved just the tonic.
Lucho Gonzalez’s 24th minute opener had Vitor Pereira’s side in front at the break and they doubled their advantage in the second half as Mark Janko booked his side’s place in the next round of the competition.
With the visit of relegation-threatened Uniao de Leiria next up, ahead of their Round of 32 meeting with the Blues, the Europa League holders will hope to continue their recovery with a win in the league as they seek to make up the five point deficit that separates them and league leaders Benfica.
...Europa League Watch...
For possible Round of 16 opponents Sporting Lisbon, last week’s win at Beira-Mar proved only a brief respite as the Lions were defeated by Porto-conquering Gil Vicente.
Despite having beaten Vicente 6-1 earlier in the campaign, Domingos Paciencia’s side exited the League Cup after slipping to a 1-0 loss and have now won just one of their last eight games in all competitions.
Last week’s hero Oguchi Onyewu quickly turned villain as his 53rd minute foul not only saw him dismissed with over half an hour remaining, but also conceded the decisive penalty.
Vicente were reduced to ten men themselves deep into injury time but it was far too late for Sporting who finished third in their group and were dumped out of the Cup.
The Blues’ alternative Round of 16 opponents are Polish outfit Legia Warsaw. Following two months away from the field, Warsaw make their long awaited return to domestic football next week in the Polish Cup.