Sunday, August 31, 2008

Catania over Genoa 1-0

Genoa’s opening match of the campaign against Catania was spoiled with Giuseppe Mascara’s sixty-first minute strike that gave the Sicilian club the 1-0 victory. However the match will be remembered by Rossoblu manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, for squandered opportunities and the inability to finish in the attacking end.

Clearly Genoa’s defensive issues of last season were greatly nullified in this match. Roughly sixty per-cent of the match was in the Catania end but Walter Zenga’s defensive line held strong with physical, tough marking and reducing sight-lines. Catania ‘keeper Albano Bizzarri kept a cool head, was only challenged on three shots and maintained his angles perfectly. Genoa’s closest opportunity to level the match was Davide Di Gennaro set-play from twenty meters out near the seventy minute mark, which sailed high. The toll of the Sicilian summer sun and physical play with over fifty fouls and eight yellow cards clearly had an impact upon the squads as pace and work-rate deflated as the match wore on. Tactically, from the Rossazzurri vantage, it was textbook Football, controlling play with a defensive set, very good at breaking down the lines of attack and taking advantage of the counter. Their marking was perfect and truthfully Genoa never had a good sight line in the attack. They will need to address the tempo of play as they seemed to slow the attack down and lacked in creativity. If there was a surprise it was that Raffaele Palladino started the match on the bench, however I expect that to change very shortly.

Match Details
83 Rubinho, 25 Biava,13 Ferrari, 4 Criscito,7 Rossi, 68 Vanden Borre (20 Mesto ‘76), 28 Juric, 23 Modesto, 14 Sculli (21 Di Gennaro ‘66), 11 Olivera, 18 Gasbarroni (10 Palladino 60′)
Unused substitutes:15 Papastathopoulos, 73 Scarpi, 9 Figueroa, 26 Bocchetti

1 Bizarri,21 Silvestri,6 Stovini,4 Silvestre,14 Alvarez,10 Dică (Tedesco 60′),27 Biagianti,8 Ledesma,9 Paolucci,25 Martinez (Antenucci 85′),7 Mascara (Terlizzi 89′)
Unused substitutes: Sardo, Plasmati, Morimoto, Kosicky


The Clássico was as feisty you would expect and fittingly, with it being a reasonably balanced affair, ended in a 1-1 draw before 53,000 at Estádio da Luz,

Porto took the lead when Lucho González converted from the spot at the eleventh minute after a foul by Greek international Kostas Katsouranis. After a series of scoring opportunities and to the delight of the home crowd, Benfica leveled the match at one when Óscar Cardozo headed home a Hassan Yebda cross. Only three minutes later Kostas Katsouranis was excused for the night after his second card and Benfica was forced to play a man down. However while they had numerous opportunities they just couldn’t find the route to three points and the match settled as a draw.

Jesualdo Ferreira commented after the match of being pleased although he felt the Dragões had taken more of the initiative but were unable to finish positively against man-of-the-match Benfica ‘keeper, Quim. Most important mention for me is the robust and aggressive defensive structure that was shown which bodes will for the future. This will pay enormous dividends not simply with the defense of the league championship but within the Champions League. Within a group that contains Ukraine powerhouse Dynamo Kyiv, Arsenal and Fenerbahçe, this will be a critical attribute to seeing through to the next round.

Match Details
F.C. PORTO: Helton; Sapunaru, Rolando, Bruno Alves , Fucile, Fernando (Hulk 62′), Tomás Costa (Freddy Guarín 46′), Raul Meireles (Candeias 81′) , Lucho González ; Lisandro Lopez Rodríguez
Not used: Nuno, Pedro Emanuel, Lino e Farias

BENFICA: Quim; Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Katsouranis , Leo (Ruben Amorim 68′); Yebda , Carlos Martins, Di Maria, Aimar (Nuno Gomes 50′), Reyes, Cardozo (Sidnei 65′)
Not used: Moreira, Makukula, Binya e Balboa

The Old Firm

As expected, the Old Firm was a hot-tempered affair with both clubs finishing one-man down and Rangers stunning Celtic with a resounding 4-2 victory.

Surprise starter Daniel Cousin threaded a shot in at the thirty-seventh minute from a ridiculously tight angle to give Rangers a one goal margin. However Greek international Georgios Samaras leveled the score a few minutes later when he pounced on a bad clearance from Sasa Papac and slotted home a goal from five or so meters. The pace of the second half was hot and heavy and Kenny Miller gave the Rangers the lead again seven minutes after the break when he converted on a Charlie Adam cross. Pedro Mendes added to the lead when rocketed a shot past Artur Boruc to the bottom corner, who was having a uncharacteristically bad day, some twenty meters out at the sixty-second minute. By the seventy-sixth minute, tempers flared and both Daniel Cousin and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink were shown red-cards. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink’s mental lapse was particularly costly as it was more of a retribution type when they had a one man advantage. At the seventy-ninth minute Artur Boruc’s nightmare day continued when he bobbled a volley and Kenny Miller netted the rebound for his second of the day. Deep into added time Shunsuke Nakamura struck a academy-lesson on how to strike a free-kick. To say it was a thing of beauty is an understatement.

This was a great victory for the Rangers and while this leaves them in a celebratory mood, they must remain composed and focus upon one match at a time. This is a long season and championships are not won in August.

Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Wilson (Hutchinson 84), Nakamura, Hartley (Robson 72), Scott Brown, McGeady, Maloney, Samaras (Vennegoor of Hesselink 72).
Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Crosas, Loovens, O’Dea.

Sent Off: Vennegoor of Hesselink (76). Booked: McManus, Samaras.

Goals: Samaras 39, Nakamura 90.

Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Weir, Bougherra, Papac, Davis, Pedro Mendes, Thomson, Adam (Novo 78), Cousin, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Edu, Dailly, Lafferty, Niguez, McMillan.

Sent Off: Cousin (75). Booked: Thomson, Cousin, Adam, McGregor, Broadfoot.

Goals: Cousin 37, Miller 52, Pedro Mendes 62, Miller 79.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

PSG defeats Caen 1-0

PSG’s climb up the table continued with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Caen. The lone goal came fifteen minutes after the break with Guillaume Hoarau flicking-on a Jerome Rothen cross. In many ways this match typifies the difference between last season where this years club has the composure to sustain attacks and stay confident to press-forward. The leadership of Ludovic Giuly and Claude Makélélé is extremely apparent with both controlling respective sides of the pitch.

In-fact PSG could have scored numerous times as Ludovic Giuly led a brilliant attack that was unable to finish, none worse than a shocker miss by Guillaume Hoarau from a few meters out of a wide-open goal at the thirty-third. Superlatives do little to express how Ludo absolutely dictated the flow of the PSG attack and kept Caen on their heels. His influence is raising the game of all around him and in my opinion, from a attacking standpoint, was PSG’s man of the match.

Defensively the “Makélélé effect” continued as the squad continued to tighten and reduce scoring opportunities. While still far-from perfect, in combination of Mickaël Landreau’s inspired ‘keeping, the comedy of errors that plagued the squad last season has disappeared.

On the negative, once Ludo is off the pitch, attacking composure vacates the pitch. The play in the final ten minutes left a great deal to be desired and likely because they have had few experiences in this situation but this club needs to learn how to kill a match off. Their runs in the latter part ignored clock management and they gave Caen opportunities to score primarily because they didn’t know how to padlock the play. Finally I had to wonder what the intent is to leave Mateja Kežman as nothing more than a last minute substitution. There has been no question of his fitness and to leave him off the pitch seems a waste. Hopefully this will change next week against Nantes.

Match Details
Mickaël Landreau,Zoumana Camara,Sylvain Armand,Ceará,Mamadou Sakho (Sammy Traoré 80′),Stéphane Sessegnon,Claude Makélélé,Jérémy Clément,Ludovic Giuly (Fabrice Pancrate 79′),Jérôme Rothen,Guillaume Hoarau (Mateja Kežman 90′)
Substitutes not used:Edel Bete,Grégory Bourillon,Younousse Sankharé,Clément Chantome,

Vincent Plante,Jérémy Sorbon,Pablo Barzola,Nicolas Seube,Fahid Ben Khalfallah,Anthony Deroin,Benjamin Nivet,Rémi Gomis (Nicolas Florentin 70′),Juan Eduardo Eluchans (Julien Toudic 84′),Alexandre Raineau (Gregory Leca 52′),Steve Savidan,
Substitutes not used:Youssef Adnane,Karl Svensson,Alexis Thébaux,Reynald Lemaitre,

a perfect start to PSV's season

PSV started the defense of their Eredivisie title with a resounding, never-in-doubt 5-1 humiliation of FC Utrecht on the strength of Ibrahim Afelley and Danny Koevermans both scoring twice with Nordin Amrabat adding another.

Hubb Steven's squad controlled the match start to finish, executing passes and dictating play without virtually any opposition. In defense of FC Utrecht, they were missing a number of players and unfortunately their bench offered little to control PSV and this had all the makings of significantly worse blowout as Balázs Dzsudzsák and Mike Zonneveld looked capable of scoring on a number of occasions. Ibrahim Afellay and Nordin Amrabat were absolutely stunning, creating attacking scenarios and solidifying why they are so highly regarded in the Football world. Either could be considered "man-of-the-match", however in a 5-1 dismantling, I think it must be shared within the entire team.

After the international break, PSV will face Sparta Rotterdam on September 13 at Philips Stadion.

Match details
PSV: 42' Afellay,45' Amrabat,45' Koevermans,48' Afellay,77' Koevermans
FC Utrecht: 90' Uiterloo

Isaksson,Salcido,Pieters,Marcellis,Bréchet,Middenveld,Wuytens,Simons, Méndez,Afellay,Aanval, Koevermans,Amrabat
46 Culina (Wuytens), 73 Zonneveld (Méndez),78 Dzsudzsák (Amrabat)

FC Utrecht
Vorm,Schut,Keller,Dickoh,Van Buuren,Somers,Sanmartean,Silberbauer,Loval,George, Uiterloo
27 Caluwé (Sanmartean),58 Schaken (Van Buuren),69 Markiet (Keller)

CSKA Moscow defeat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0

In a match just concluded CSKA Moscow completely dominated Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 in their Moscow derby.

The back-line that includes Russian capped Sergey Ignashevich, Aleksei Berezutskiy and Vasili Berezutskiy as well as a Lithuanian Deividas Šemberas shut-down the Lokomotiv assaults of Dmitri Torbinski and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and keeping Igor Akinfeev run of eight clean sheets in a row.

Lokomotiv Moscow played most of the match done with Sergei Gurenko receiving two harsh yellow cards by the twelfth minute. Yuri Zhirkov dominated in the attacking, feeding eighteen year-old striker phenom Alan Dzagoev (who is in desperate need of a call-up Mr. Stukalov) for the first goal at the twenty-second minute, then scored himself midway of the second half.

It was a brilliant win for Koni as they push up the table and now face Luch-Energiya Vladivostok next week.

Zenit wins Super Cup!!!

Sir Alex Ferguson will have to wait for another chance to win the Super Cup as Dick Advocaat’s Zenit Saint Petersburg easily defeated Manchester United 2-1 to win the UEFA Super Cup.

Pavel Pogrebnyak and new-man Danni contributed goals each to give the defending Russian Premier League and UEFA Cup a 2-0 lead before Nemanja Vidic drew one back for Man Utd. However the slick passing and constant movement of Zenit constantly kept the Man Utd at bay and the match was a flattering scoreline for the English club.

The hard-tackling Ukrainian International Anatoly Tymoschuk was ruthless in the midfield and set the tone of match early, fighting for every blade of grass. Talismanic striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, who sadly missed the Euro 2008 for Russia due to injury, was a constant threat to score and created numerous opportunities with his movement. His return to fitness bodes well for Russia's hunt for World Cup glory. Danni, who has only been with the club for a few days after coming over from Dynamo Moscow for €30m, fit in easily and leaves all Zenit supporters excited about the Champions League. Aleksandr Anyukov shut-down the Man Utd attack and sprung many counters particularly working-well with fellow international Konstantin Zyryanov, whose movement and pace was too-much for Man Utd. Andrei Arshavin, entered the match at the half, showed his typical attacking prowess and from all inside accounts, appears re-dedicated to the Zenit cause. To pick a man-of-the-match is a near impossible task but I do wish to mention the continued promise of Igor Denisov who set up the first goal, was superb on either end of the pitch. It was a great team victory as Zenit continues to fill its hardware case.

After the match Dick Advocaat commented:
“I think if you see the chances we created it was a deserved win. The start was a bit difficult as for 15 minutes we had some problems with the movement of the strikers. From a certain moment we started controlling things and creating chances, although we didn’t score enough. In the second half when the second central defender went off, we became more dangerous. Overall it was a well-deserved win over the 90 minutes.

I think it is not an easy draw but we did really well in the UEFA Cup so why not in the Champions League? Tonight we gave a warning so people can know what to expect. But the Champions League is different to tonight which in principle was a friendly match, but an important one of course. I have a squad I’m happy with, we still have a good bench, so there’s no need to buy more players – as long as everybody stays. We have spent net €25m this summer which is peanuts compared to the big clubs in Europe.”

Monterrey Rayados

Friday, August 29, 2008

Zenit Saint Petersburg Champions League draw

Zenit Saint Petersburg has been drawn into Group H of the Champions League which contains Serie A Juventus, La Liga’s Real Madrid and the surprise entry, FC BATE Borisov. Matches are as follows:

Matchday One - Sep 17
Juventus - Zenit St. Petersburg

Matchday Three - Oct 21
Zenit St. Petersburg - FC BATE Borisov

Matchday Five - Nov 25
Zenit St. Petersburg - Juventus

Matchday Two - Sep 30
Zenit St. Petersburg - Real Madrid

Matchday Four - Nov 5
BATE Borisov - Zenit St. Petersburg

Matchday Six - Dec 10a
Real Madrid - Zenit St. Petersburg

Zenit Saint Petersburg v Manchester United Super Cup preview

This is a curious match to preview as while I am hoping for a never-say-die effort by both clubs, I can’t be sure that it is being taken as serious as I’d like. This particularly so in considering Man Utd’s Sir Alex Ferguson’s commentary that has given contradictory indications of his intent:

“I remember the last time we went there I only played half a team. When I saw Lazio celebrating at the end, it was like they had won the World Cup. I was not too pleased (and) that will not happen again.”

Yet he also commented earlier today:

“The Super Cup means no pressure on either team. It’s prestigious but provides a platform for the players to go out and enjoy themselves.”

The key to this comment (and for those who might have more than a passing interest in this match) is “no pressure“, which basically sounds the alarms of nice ribbons being given out after the match and hearty-cheer for the opposition. “No pressure” means a “friendly” or in this situation, a chance to get to Monaco and the local night-life. Nothing that fans have in mind or UEFA I’m sure.

However such is the case with this match and as much as I had hoped and even delayed posting my preview, waiting for some indication, this has all the makings of a easy-going friendly so the crushing mid-field challenges of Anatoliy Tymoschuk might be put on-hold in a free-wheeling non-contact match.

As further ballast of this being a less-than do-or-die match, Man Utd will welcome back Nani from suspension, Ji-Sung Park,Gary Neville and the Canadian who doesn’t play for Canada, Owen Hargreaves from injuries and a number of them are expected in the starting grid. While certainly they all have the ability to occupy their respective position during regular matches, their inclusion signals the match as a use of a “tune-up” and a chance to improve fitness.

However this match will provide fans of the game to watch the extraordinary collection of Football talent that Dick Advocaat has put together at Zenit Saint Petersburg and for that alone it is worth watching. Oddly enough, while many will know primarily of Andrei Arshavin’s superb talents, I’m not positive I would say he is the most valuable member of the club. I might reconsider that comment but the point is, this club has an outstanding array of talent and while clubs consider paying a Kings ransom for Andrei, a review of the lineup reveals player after player who will make a massive impact with any club.

Your new possible favourite midfielder, at least after the match, is quite possibly Anatoly Tymoschuk. A ruthless tackler, who never quits and leads through example, has exemplary vision with the ball. He is said to be valued at £7 on the transfer market, which seems a trace like a Boxing Day sale price to me in todays market and I couldn’t imagine Zenit without him. In-fact, in a match he was recently suspended for, they looked lost and void of the fire he imparts. While clubs hunt and peck for midfield leaders, I’m surprised the twenty-nine year-old Ukraine international isn’t on every clubs short-list.

Equally stated striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is now back from knee injury and if he remains healthy, watch Russia in the World Cup. In my opinion if he hadn’t been injured before the Euro’s, the talk of the Football world would have been around Pavel, who is a classic predator. The twenty-four year-old striker is a remarkable talent and while rarely discussed, is a tremendous leader in the club and role model to fans.

The rich midfield is packed with an assortment of quality pedigree including twenty-two year-old Viktor Fayzulin who plays well beyond his years in all facets of the game, Igor Denisov, an extremely complete player who will excel in-time on the international scene, Konstantin Zyryanov one of Russia’s top Footballers, offensive whirlwind Dani, who just came over from Dynamo Moscow. Up-front with Andrei Arshavin and Pavel Pogrebnyak, Zenit has featured the tenacious and creative attacking Turkish international Fatih Tekke (Turkey) along with Alejandro Domínguez who has consistently shown to be a high level attacker. Defensively Dick Advocaat has continued his assembly of top pedigree with international capped Roman Shirokov (Russia), Ivica Krizanac (Croatia) and Kim Dongjin (Korea) along with recent addition Sébastien Puygrenier.

I will be posting a full review of the match once it concludes.

Steaua Bucureşti Champions League draw results

Marius Lăcătuş leads Steaua Bucureşti into the Champions League. In todays draw they were allocated to Group F which includes Fiorentina of Italy's Serie A, Bayern München of Germany's Bundesliga and Ligue One champion Olympique Lyonnais.

Matchday One - Sep 17
Steaua Bucuresti - Bayern München

Matchday Three - Oct 21
Steaua Bucuresti - Olympique Lyonnais

Matchday Five - Nov 25
Bayern München - Steaua Bucuresti

Matchday Two - Sep 30
Fiorentina - Steaua Bucuresti

Matchday Four - Nov 5
Olympique Lyonnais - Steaua Bucuresti

Matchday Six - Dec 10
Steaua Bucuresti - Fiorentina

CFR Cluj Champions League draw results

Ioan Andone leads CFR Cluj into the Champions League. The defending Liga I champions were draw into Group A with Roma of Italy's Serie A, Girondins de Bordeaux of France's Ligue 1 and Chelsea of England's Premier League.

Match Day One - September 16
Roma - CFR Cluj

Matchday Three - Oct 22
Girondins de Bordeaux - CFR Cluj

Matchday Five - Nov 26
CFR 1907 Cluj - AS Roma

Matchday Two - Oct 1
CFR Cluj - Chelsea FC

Matchday Four - Tuesday 4 Nov 2008
CFR Cluj - Girondins de Bordeaux

Matchday Six - Tuesday 9 Dec 2008
Chelsea - CFR Cluj

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Anatoly Tymoschuk super-hero

UEFA Cup champions Zenit Saint Petersburg have a initiated a fun marketing program for kids (and big kids), which depicts players as super-hero's. While it has nothing to do with Football, I thought I'd pass on to you.

The following image is of their captain, Ukraine International Anatoly Tymoschuk.

Dynamo Kyiv defeats Spartak Moscow 4-1

Dynamo Kyiv's destruction of Spartak Moscow is complete as they obliterated their old rivals 4-1 in a Champions League qualifier match.

This wasn’t as close as thescore-line reads as the Ukraine squad were in control of the match start to finish. They opened-up scoring at the four-minute mark as Oleksandr Aliev waltzed through the Spartak defense and sent the ball into the back of net. Taras Mykhalyk doubled the score twenty minutes later as his cross was flicked on by Ismael Bangoura. Two minutes after the break Spartak’s Artem Dzjuba brought the visitors to within one but this dance with respectability didn't last long. Dynamo's Artem Milevskiy scored two minutes later and then again twelve minutes from time to bring the match to its final 4-1 score. Dynamo Kyiv advances to the next round of the Champions League.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Super Cup in Monaco

Ahead of this weeks Zenit Saint Petersburg - Manchester United, UEFA Super Cup at Stade Louis II in Monaco, Man Utd's Sir Alex Ferguson put the rest concerns that his club wouldn't be taking the match serious.

Recalling Manchester United's 1-0 loss to Lazio, after they had won the 1999 Champions League, Sir Alex commented:

"I remember the last time we went there I only played half a team. When I saw Lazio celebrating at the end, it was like they had won the World Cup. I was not too pleased (and) that will not happen again."

He further added:

"We'll view the Super Cup as a one-off and we want to win it but we are expecting a very tough game."

Man Utd will have a host of players available for the match, including Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Nani and Owen Hargreaves (the kid from Calgary who insists on forcing a British Madonna-esque accent...Owen, you're from CalGARY, seriously its ridiculus. Talk about the Flames for a bit).

Leeds United v Crystal Palace Carling Cup

Leeds United definitely made its objectives loud and clear with its lineup in their Carling Cup match against Crystal Palace as they had many new faces in it and frankly, one that the squad needs to have on the pitch on Saturdays. The lineup blended experience where needed, namely Paul Telfer and pace, with Fabian Delph in the midfield and attacked, attacked, attacked.

Cutting straight to the chase, against a squad you'd naturally accept as superior, Leeds blew apart Crystal Palace 4-0 in every facet of the game. Through the early start of the League One campaign has shown a very dowdy approach to Football, akin to having an old-model who plays in lower-league and rarely runs, try to launch your attack. With a few subtle changes in the midfield, most notably to include Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass in the starting grid, this is a lineup that'll devastate League One. Jermaine Beckford and Luciano Becchio must be paired together at striker, assuming Leeds doesn't move to a preferred 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2 "diamond" with Luciano as the enganche. Luciano's pedigree is very obvious and his raw abilities are far beyond his teammates. That might be a bitter pill for some to swallow particularly as his fellow striker Jermaine Beckford was League One's Player-of-the-Year, last season but the reality of the situation is the Boca Junior trained Argentine's movement without the ball and distribution is a quantum distance beyond all others on the pitch and he'll improve the club immeasurably. Without question he is best signing in League One or the Championship League I've seen in a number of years.

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock said post-match:
"Quite honestly we couldn't cope with the front lads. Once the second goal went in it was disappointing to say the least.

"If you defend like that you're going to get beat against any level of opposition and I thought the two centre forwards bullied our defenders from start to finish.

Leeds has to put this victory behind them and get ready for a tough League One match-up against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

Spartak Moscow v Dynamo Kyiv

After Spartak Moscow as devastated by Dynamo Kyiv 4-1 in the first leg of the series at home, the likihood of the Ukrainian team not advancing is very unlikely. To make matters worse for the Russian club, Spartak’s talismanic Roman Pavlyuchenko announcement to the media that he is heading to Tottenham of the English Premier Leauge and not making the trip to Kyiv, has further dampened Spartak incredibly slim chances of putting up four goals against Dynamo at Lobanovsky Dynamo Stadium. However this is a great rivalry and while the eventual outcome of the qualifier is a foregone conclusion to most, it will be a heated battle between two great rivals.

I’ll provide a report on the match upon its conclusion.

week 1 FC Porto

As you may have gathered I am a big supporter of the Portuguese Liga and each week I'll be looking at the a highlight match. With the start of the campaign, none would be better than the start of FC Porto's defense of their title.

Porto's quest for their sixth Portuguese Liga title in the decade and fourth in a row started today with a solid 2-0 victory over Belenenses at Estádio do Dragão. It has been a trying pre-season for the champions as they they are facing the reality that the talismanic Ricardo Quaresma wishes to play elsewhere and they have looked less than impressive in the attack without him. In the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira the offensive flourish that is characteristic of the squad was absent and to complete today's match most of their upper-tier players were on international duty this Wednesday and manager Jesualdo Ferreira was dealing with some interesting decisions.

In speaking to the media pre-match, Jesualdo Ferreira had commented that he had learned from the Supertaça defeat and corrected the problems. Proving true to his word Porto came out looking likely a completely different squad in comparison to the Supertaça and displayed creative yet confident flourish.

The match was an overwhelming one-sided affair from the get-go and quickly Mariano González gave the champions the lead at the fifteenth minute. Finishing still needs some work but the quality of movement and tactical precision was superb. New addition Cristian Săpunaru did a tremendous job and in the back-line and served notice that Porto is planning towards its Champions League bid. Fellow new-man Hulk was brought-in for Cristian Rodríguez with thirty-one minutes left in the match and was rewarded with his first goal with a brilliant left-footed strike from roughly twenty meters out to the far corner to bring the match to its final 2-0 score.

A brilliant start to the new season with the action picking up next week as they face Benfica.