Porto win 1-0 in Braga to preserve third place in the Primeira Liga

Porto held onto third spot in the Primeira Liga after a tense 1-0 win against Braga at the Quarry

The Warriors had to win to steal third spot, their chanches dealt a big blow in the 12th minute when Víctor Gómez earned a second booking.

Porto wore the weary hosts down, Otávio hitting the post before Matheus produced a trio of saves to deny Pepê Aquino, Francisco Conceição and Galeno.

There was nothing the goalkeeper could do when the Dragons scored in the 84thminute, Mehdi Taremi’s perfect pass releasing Galeno who notched his 16thgoal of the season.

Braga begin the offseason before returning under Daniel Sousa, Sérgio Conceição's side set to take on Sporting Clube de Portugal in the Taça de Portugal final.

Gómez sent off

Evanilson had been threatening early on and was brought down by a pumped up Víctor Gómez, the Spaniard booked in the 8th minute.

Nico Gonzalez headed Alan Varela’s free kick wide but Porto would soon take an advantage of a different kind.

Gomez, having just been involved in another robust challenge on Evanilson, got himself sent off in the 12th minute after another well worked move saw Galeno surge towards the box. Galeno went down without much contact, referee Nuno Miguel Serrano Almeida reaching into his pocked to produce a second yellow card.

Paulo Oliveira was booked for arguing as Ricardo Horta dropped deep, not for long though as Vitor Carvalho replaced Pizzi and slotted in at right-back.

Porto in charge

Porto pressed ahead, Galeno’s shot blocked before Francisco Conceição was booked for hauling down Cristian Borja. The crowd got fired up and had more to get excited about when Ricardo Horta’s penalty claim was denied, the playmaker going down after a counter attack resulted in Bruma’s cross causing confusion.

The first half ended with Galeno firing over the bar, João Mário replacing Martim Fernandes at the break.

The Dragons went close six minutes after the restart when the ball fell to Otávio at the back post, his shot taking a deflection off the woodwork.

Matheus 1-2-3

Matheus took centre stage with three superb saves. He denied Pepê Aquino who had raced onto a long ball, sprung back to his feet to stop Conceição’s follow up and then dived at full stretch to tip Galeno’s effort wide.

Braga weathered the storm and showed more promise on the counter attack. Breaking clear down the left wing, Borja’s cross seemed destined to be tucked away by Horta before a vital intervention from Wendell.

The game started to get stretched as Braga had nothing to lose. Álvaro Djaló came on to offer another threat, replacing Rodrigo Zalazar.

Dragons get it done

Porto wasted two presentable chances to settle the third spot debate, Nico González firing straight at Matheus and Conceição curling his shot wide. It was the final involvment for both players, González and Conceição making way for Stephen Eustaquio and Mehdi Taremi.

Sikou Niakaté headed Joao Moutinho’s free kick narrowly wide, Rui Duarte finally bring on top scorer Simon Banza who entered alongside Rony Lopes at the expense of Bruma and Abel Ruiz.

There would be no party at the Quarry however, Porto putting the ball into the net in the 85th minute. Eustaquio started the move in midfield, Taremi’s expert pass pounced on by Galeno who game Matheus no chance.

Bye Braga, trophy chance for Porto

Braga had a presentable opportunity to beat Porto and steal third spot, Víctor Gómez’s 12th minute expulsion an obvious hinderance to their mission.

Simon Banza is surely on his way out of the club after coming on in the 81st minute. Rui Duarte will give up the managerial reins to Daniel Sousa, let’s hope the Warriors can tighten up defensively, make some key signings and threaten the top four again next season. 

Sérgio Conceição, absent from the bench after an accumulation of bookings, will be more than happy to seal third spot. It’s been a turbulent season on and off the pitch, and only time will tell if he has a future working for André Villas-Boas.

The Dragons now turn their attention to a clash against Sporting Clube de Portugal in the Taça de Portugal final.

By Matthew Marshall at the Quarry

Braga 0-1 Porto highlights