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Smooth Porto ease Dinamo aside

Wednesday 21 November 2012 22.45 CET
Lucho González celebrates putting Porto in front

Already qualified FC Porto maintained their lead at the head of UEFA Champions League Group A with a solid win against a determined GNK Dinamo Zagreb.

Ante Čačić's visitors stretched their losing run in the competition proper to 11 games despite having their share of chances. They had no answer to João Moutinho, who set up goals for Lucho González and Silvestre Varela either side of scoring himself. It means Porto finish the group stage with a perfect home record for only the second time, and a draw at Paris Saint-Germain FC on matchday six will clinch first place. Dinamo will aim to avoid equalling RSC Anderlecht's competition record of 12 successive defeats against FC Dynamo Kyiv.

Dinamo started brightly, and Sammir dragged a shot wide from range as they sought their first goal of the group stage. The newly capped Croatian international then came even closer, his powerful effort crashing back off the inside of a post.

Čačić's men were looking confident but, somewhat against the run of play, the Portuguese champions took the lead in the 20th minute. A deftly constructed move involving Jackson Martínez and Moutinho ended with Lucho collecting the Portugal midfielder's through pass to guide a delightful left-footed shot into the top corner.

The noisy travelling contingent tried to lift their team, yet Dinamo seemed uncertain for the first time and were almost two behind shortly afterwards when Varela broke clear on the left. Fortunately for the away side, the winger mis-hit his shot straight at goalkeeper Ivan Kelava.

Dinamo regrouped and almost had an equaliser from a corner just before half-time. Helton made a sprawling save from Domagoj Vida's header and Fatos Beqiraj's follow-up was creeping in until Varela stretched to hack it off the line.

Porto, however, began the second period on the front foot and rarely let up thereafter. Kelava beat away a stinging attempt from James Rodríguez and then dived to palm away a shot from Jackson after the big centre-forward ran onto a pass from his fellow Colombian.

The pressure on Croatia's title holders continued to mount as coach Vítor Pereira introduced Fernando and Alex Sandro, both fresh back from injury. The pair had barely set foot on the pitch when the Dragons extended their advantage. After Josip Šimunić had pulled back Jackson, Moutinho stepped up to curl an imperious free-kick over the wall and into the corner of the net.

Moutinho then returned to his creative role with a delightful back-heel for Varela to drive in the third that crowned an ultimately comfortable Porto victory – but there is still work to do in Paris.

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