Porto enjoyed almost total domination over Champion's League minnows Dinamo Zagreb at the Estadio Dragao on Wednesday evening, running out as 3-0 winners after a convincing performance.
Despite some nervous moments for the home side, goals from Lucho Gonzalez, Joao Moutinho and Silvestre Varela wrapped up the victory for the Portuguese giant, which had already secured qualification from the group before kickoff.
After a confident start from the Portistas, the away side spurned the first good chance of the match following a quick breakaway. Domagoj Vida drove powerfully from his own half and released Sammir with a lofted through ball. The Brazilian forward raced clear, but his venemous effort cannoned back off the inside of Helton's far post.
Sammir was again involved after 17 minutes, as the tricky forward was almost allowed to capitalize on a defensive error by Nicolas Otamendi, who woefully gave the ball away under no pressure. But despite nutmegging his marker, the Zagreb number ten was unable to bundle the ball past the physical presence of Mangala and the chance petered out.
Warning bells rang for the home side, which took heed of Zagreb's chances and stepped up a gear.
The home fans' nerves were settled on the 20 minute mark however, as a result of the newly-found Porto impetus. Following good interplay on the edge of the Zagreb area from Jackson Martinez and Joao Moutinho, Lucho Gonzalez blasted his side into the lead, as the Croatian marking fell briefly slack.
Previously-at-fault Otamendi turned saviour for Porto minutes before halftime, as his last ditch challenge on Fatos Beciraj prevented the Montenegro winger from testing Helton.
From the resulting corner, Helton did manage to get his first real touch of the ball, but suicidally dropped the inswinging set piece at the feet of Beciraj. Steven Defour did just about enough to put the Zagreb man under pressure, only allowing Beciraj to poke a weak effort at goal, which Mangala cleared off the line for a halftime lead.
Porto continued in the same vein after the break, dominating possession but creating few clear cut chances. Rodriguez had the chance to give his side a cushion in the 61st minute, after being given the ball by the lively Martinez, but placed his effort too close to Ivan Kelava.
Kelava had no such luck four minutes later, as the Zagreb keeper found himself picking a spectacular 30-yard Joao Moutinho free kick out of the back of his net, putting Porto firmly in the driving seat.
After continued domination, Varela was on hand to wrap up the comfortable 3-0 victory in the last five minutes of the game, beating Kelava at his near post after an intelligent backheel from the imperious Moutinho.
Both Martinez and Varela were denied by Kelava in the dying embers of stoppage time, but an extension of the scoreline would only have flattered the Portuguese side, which needs to improve if it is to navigate the knockout stages of the competition.
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