A well-organised FC Arouca side will consider themselves unlucky to leave the Estádio do Dragão with just a point. The visitors took a late lead through Cristo González in the 84th minute before conceding a 109th minute equaliser to Evanilson to hand FC Porto a late draw.
Sunday’s match was a tense and drama-filled event with much of the post-match talk surrounding referee Miguel Nogueira.
Both sets of players, the managers, and the 46,516 supporters in attendance were furious with the referee’s handling of the match. Over the 110 minutes, Porto were awarded three penalties (two were overruled by VAR), with six yellow cards handed out on the evening.
Sporting’s 1-1 draw with Braga means Porto remain tied atop the table alongside Boavista and Sporting. All three sides have 10 points, with Benfica and Vitória Guimarães currently on 9 points.
FC Arouca are one of only four teams in the league that remain undefeated after securing six points from their opening four matches.
FC Porto survive once again
Sérgio Conceição’s side maintained their undefeated start to the season with a late goal but the team looks disorientated and devoid of any fluidity. They have required stoppage-time goals in three of their four matches this year and have looked unconvincing. The team has a goal difference of plus three after scoring seven and conceding four goals.
Porto are yet to face any of the other big four clubs and will need to find some consistency if they hope to compete for the title this season.
Daniel Ramos tactical masterclass
Arouca were organised and in control through most of the match. Veteran manager Daniel Ramos, who has worked with several top Portuguese clubs over his 22-year career, opted for a 3-4-3 formation which gradually shifted to a 5-4-1 as the match progressed. Porto struggled to break through and relied heavily of crosses and long balls.
Defenders Nino Galović and Rafael Tavares Fernandes were two of the standout performers. Captain David Simão also had an excellent outing.
Porto’s forwards struggling to find goals
Last year’s top goalscorer Mehdi Taremi has looked unenergetic and uninspired since his highly publicised proposed move to Inter Milan fell through. He is yet to get on the scoresheet this season.
Spaniard Iván Jaime, who scored nine league goals for Famalicão in 2022/23, looked out of sorts in his Liga debut. Striker Fran Navarro, signed from Gil Vicente in the summer, has had limited time on the field to prove himself.
Late drama at the Estádio do Dragão
The game looked to be heading towards a draw before a spectacular individual effort from winger Cristo González gave Arouca a lead in the 84th minute.
Porto continued to threaten versus a stubborn Arouca defence and were awarded three penalties. Two of those penalties were overruled by VAR. The third was given when Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi dropped to the floor after minimal contact. Galeno stepped up to take the spot-kick but was denied by a great save from Uruguayan keeper Ignacio de Arruabarrena.
Evanilson’s 109th minute equalizer (scored two minutes after the allotted injury time) should have been the main talking point but the antics surrounding referee Miguel Nogueira stole the headlines. The official’s job was made even more difficult by technical difficulties with the VAR system, forcing him to talk to the video referees by mobile phone without seeing the images himself.
Arouca’s Daniel Ramos was livid after what looked to be a soft penalty late in the match. FC Porto have filed an official complaint and asked that the match be cancelled. Their protest stems from the fact that the referee was unable to view the monitor and overruled an earlier penalty decision without seeing the footage.
[ 1-0] - Cristo González, 84’
[1-1] - Evanilson, 90’ +19’