Europa League watch: Porto win, Lisbon beaten
- 17 January 2012 12:32
- Posted by Alex Rowen
City's Europa League Round of 32 opponents Porto continued to pile pressure on leaders Benfica as they overcame Rio Ave 2-0 despite losing Hulk with a first-half injury.
James Rodriguez scored either side of half-time to keep the Dragons breathing down the necks of their Lisbon rivals, who are just two points ahead.
The Portuguese giants were always expected to dominate the match and did so comfortably throughout despite the loss of Hulk on 32 minutes.
Rodriguez broke the deadlock prior to the break and the Columbian wrapped up all three points ten minutes from time with his second. His first, courtesy of a sublime dribbling move, was capped off with a cool left footed finish.
Despite suffering a first defeat in six, Lisbon are without a win in four in all competitions and their Champions League qualification hopes were dealt a bitter blow by what could prove a pivotal result.
It was a difficult game for boss Domingos Paciencia who returned to his former stomping ground to see his Lions undone by goals from Helder Barbosa and Lima
...Europa League watch
The additions of former Blue Valeri Bojinov and strike partner Andre Carillo added some much needed spark to the Sporting strike force, but even Carillo's late consolation failed to spark a revival.
Now sat fourth – outside of the Champions League qualification places – Lisbon will hope to take three points from their upcoming meeting with Olhanese to ensure they remain in the race for Europe's elite competition.
City's other possible Europa League opposition, Legia Warsaw, return to domestic action on 11 February with a tricky Polish Cup tie against Wisla Krakow.