Trailing Porto outdone by fine margins in third draw of the Primeira Liga season

FC Porto 0-0 Rio Ave

FC Porto have slipped up once more in the race for the Primeira Liga title after seeing two goals disallowed for offside maintain a 0-0 score-line at home to Rio Ave, this Saturday.

The Dragons thought they had led twice during the encounter, once through Galeno before Evanilson’s turn, but both goals were pulled up by VAR for being marginally offside.

Rio Ave were even forced to play the last five minutes of the game down to ten men but were able to survive the onslaught late on from Porto, earning the Vilacondenses an important draw and leaving their opponents, potentially, seven points off the top of the table.

For the encounter, Sérgio Conceição stuck by his in-form options in the attacking third who immediately took the game to Rio Ave, threatening the visitors early.

The Dragons will feel they should’ve had a penalty as early as the third minute of the game after contact between Miguel Nóbrega and the attacking Evanilson inside the box, but after closer inspection, consulting the VAR, the referee judged the intervention to have been clean and overturned the penalty decision.

Just seven minutes later, Galeno was rushing to tap in what many had thought was the opener but again, the VAR was alert to calls to check the goal, catching the ex-Rio Ave man 4 centimetres offside from Nico González’s initial header at goal.

An effort dragged just wide by João Teixeira was as close as Rio Ave got to bothering Porto’s goal at the other end, meanwhile the likes of Francisco Conceição tested Jhonatan between the sticks.

In the 40th minute, Porto were able to unlock the visitors’ backline once more after a neat give-and-go between Wendell and Galeno, with the former feeding Evanilson for a front-post finish before the flag was again up to disallow a second goal.

Taking a 0-0 draw into the break, the ideas and inspiration seem to evade Porto a little in the second period, as frustration distanced themselves from that ever-important first goal of the game.

In the 92nd minute, a second yellow card for Emmanuel Boateng meant that Rio Ave would have to defend the final moments of the game reduced to ten men, injecting belief into the Estádio do Dragão.

Rio Ave called on a strong Jhonatan stop to keep an Alan Varela strike from the edge of the box out, meanwhile the Dragons followed up with failures to direct goalwards in the air.

Time ran out for Porto, dropping points for the sixth time in 20 Primeira Liga games this season and offering Benfica and Sporting the opportunity to distance themselves from their rival in blue.

By Patrick Ribeiro 

FC Porto XI: Diogo Costa - Wendell, Fábio Cardoso, Pepe, João Mário - Galeno, Nico González, Pepê, Alan Varela, Francisco Conceição - Evanilson

Rio Ave XI: Jhonatan - Josué, Aderllan Santos, Miguel Nóbrega - Fábio Ronaldo, João Teixeira, Tanlongo, Joca, Costinha - João Graça, Emmanuel Boateng