Nine-man Porto fall further behind leaders of the pack in tempestuous loss to Estoril

Estoril 1-0 FC PortoFC Porto have slipped further away from the top spots after losing 1-0 away from home to relegation-candidates Estoril Praia in a fiery Primeira Liga affair.A torrid night for Porto began to take shape when a second-half red card, attributed to goalkeeper Diogo Costa, set the Dragons a man down with a victory to chase.From the subsequent free-kick, Cassiano found the goal that made all the difference for Estoril, placing the underdogs in the lead.The drama resumed at the Estádio António Coimbra da Mota with additional red cards brandished to both sides, closing the game with ten vs. nine on the field - enough to tilt the balance in Estoril’s favour.

Sérgio Conceição offered little by the way of surprise with his preferred XI, with regulars such as Evanilson, Francisco Conceição and Galeno all starting against lowly-placed Estoril, who in turn were strapped in, hoping for a scalp.Cassiano almost offered Estoril quite the start after attacking Tiago Araújo’s cross at the near post in the 7th minute, pulling a solid save out of Diogo Costa instead of nestling the ball into the back of the net.Porto bit back with a great opportunity for Evanilson in the 33rd minute, rounding the goalkeeper before running out of time to pull the trigger at the unattended goal, with Marcelo Carné catching up to the Brazilian striker to provide a key save.The Dragons struggled to build on their acute handle of the game, however, with Estoril back causing all the problems in the second half via Rodrigo Gomes down the flanks.In the 52nd minute, a strong blitz and cutback from the Sporting Braga man had Cassiano and Heriberto Tavares lining up to tap in from close range, with neither managing to direct the cross goalwards.

Porto were sure they had a penalty for a foul on Conceição in the 57th minute, and so was the referee before the VAR ruled the clash with Eliaquim Mangala a mere coming together, chalking off the spot-kick.Estoril’s fortunes were due a sharp change from that moment onwards, with a complicated pass-back from Otávio landing his own goalkeeper Diogo Costa in trouble and leading him to foul the Estoril attacker as the last man, earning himself a red card.Claudio Ramos deputised in place of the dismissed Portugal number one and his first action was to pick the ball out of the back of the net, as Cassiano welcomed the former Rio Ave man to the game with a well-executed free-kick that opened the scoring in the 69th minute.Conceição was very lucky not to earn himself a red card after protesting a foul excessively, but the young winger would fail to contain his frustrations minutes later and eventually leave his team down to nine men, following an altercation with Fabrício.Bernardo Vital kept the referee busy with a red card of his own, dropping Estoril down to ten, but it did little to revitalise a raging Porto outfit, left in a complete state of head loss come full-time.The defeat now leaves the Dragons nine points behind second-placed Benfica, opening the door for Braga to come within touching distance of the Blue & Whites ahead of their away fixture versus Portimonense.By Patrick RibeiroEstoril XI: Marcelo Carné - Eliaquim Mangala, Bernardo Vital, João Basso - Tiago Araújo, Mateus Fernandes, Vinicius Zanocelo, Wagner Pina - Heriberto Tavares, Rodrigo Gomes, CassianoFC Porto XI: Diogo Costa - Wendell, Otávio, Pepe, João Mário - Nico González, Alan Varela - Galeno, Pepê, Francisco Conceição - Evanilson