Porto punish Tondela 3-0 in the Primeira Liga

FC Porto swept aside Tondela 3-0 at the Estádio do Dragão to stay in touch with Benfica in the Primeira Liga title race. Tiquinho Soares scored twice in the first half and Otávio put the result beyond doubt just after half time.

Never in doubt

Porto established their superiority early on and it didn’t take long for the Dragons to go ahead. Shoya Nakajima began the move, Jesus Corona’s cross finding Tiquinho who headed home in the 9th minute.

It was one way traffic from then on and in the 32nd minute Tiquinho made it 2-0. Alex Telles’ corner was flicked towards the back post by Marega, the big Brazilian striker left unmarked to head another one past Cláudio Ramos.

Wilson Manafá replaced Moussa Marega at half time, slotting in at right-back with Corona switching to the right-wing. The Mexican would soon be involved in Porto’s third, a lovely layoff putting Otávio through on goal who made no mistake.

Mateus Uribe fired wide, Nakajima blew a great chance to make it 4-0, Fábio Silva and Telles with shots saved but it was job done and an easy three points for Sérgio Conceição’s side.

Tiquinho on target

Tiquinho is in fine form and took advantage of getting another start with two first half goals that effectively ended the contest. Big, strong and possessing a high work rate, he often drops deep to initiate attacks and is an important player for Conceição with Vincent Aboubakar battling against injuries.

The 28-year-old has come a long way since Vitória Guimarães signed him for €500k in November 2016. He will be an important player for Porto as they continue to fight on multiple fronts.

Otávio integral

Porto lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Nakajima in the #10 role and Otávio beside Mateus Uribe in central midfield. He was busy early on, breaking up play and using his passing range to good effect.

Otávio has played in a number of positions but appears better suited to and more effective in a central position. Against Tondela it was in a deeper role, but he also showed what a danger he is near the opposition box when he started and finished the move that put Porto 3-0 up.

Danilo Pereira and Mamadou Loum will return soon enough, it will be interesting to see how Conceição utilises Otávio when they are back in the squad.

Porto 3-0 Tondela highlights


Shoya Nakajima

Shoya Nakajima has found playing time hard to come by since coming back to Portugal with the Dragons. Earning just his second Primeira Liga start of the season, the Japanese playmaker had plenty of touches and was involved in two of Porto’s goals.

Looks short of confidence as one would expect having to make do with cameo appearances, it’s unclear if his short stint in Qatar has been a contributing factor. Moving to Porto might eventually prove to be another ill-advised move, he was influential at Portimonense and I wonder if getting regular game time for a mid-table club would be beneficial for his development.

Porto's home record continues

If Porto are to overhaul Benfica at the top of the Primeira Liga, their form at the Estádio do Dragão will be a big reason why. The Dragons have now won 21 of their last 22 home matches in the Primeira Liga since August 2018 and kept 11 clean sheets in their last 12.

The only blip in that record was a 2-1 defeat to Benfica on 2 March 2019. Porto's next home match against Benfica is scheduled for early February, a game that will go a long way to deciding the title. 

Tondela second best

Tondela came into the match with one of the best away records in the Primeira Liga but it mattered little at the Estádio do Dragão. Fahd Moufi sent João Pedro through in the first half with the midfielder shooting wide, it was the closest they came to a goal.

Natxo González tried to turn the tide by replacing João Pedro and Pepelu for Pedro Augusto and Richard Rodrigues on the hour mark. It made no notable difference as the visitors were unable to register a shot on target or test Agustín Marchesín.

Trapped inside their own half for much of the match, Tondela showed why they have lost their last six matches against Porto without scoring a goal. Tondela will be hopeful of picking up enough points after the New Year break to avoid another relegation scrap, something they know all too well.

By Matthew Marshall