Unbeaten since 21 March 2010, FC Porto's bubble burst just two days into 2011 when they lost 2-1 at home to CD Nacional in the League Cup. It was their first reverse in 37 fixtures, spoiling the unblemished record of André Villas-Boas, whose 25-match undefeated start to life as coach at the Estádio do Dragão brought a new contract last week.
Their Madeiran conquerors were left to revel in doing what no team had done since SL Benfica in the final of the same competition last term. Anselmo was at the fore, scoring twice in seven minutes to cancel out Hulk's 64th-minute penalty and leave Nacional trainer Predrag Jokanović singing his players' praises.
"Porto were not going to keep winning forever," he said of the Portuguese Liga leaders. "We knew we could win, because we are playing well. I have to praise my players because they were 1-0 down and reacted well. It was a demonstration of personality from the team and it was a fair outcome."
Anselmo, scorer of a last-minute winner for CF Estrela da Amadora at the Estádio do Dragão in February 2007, was a model of modesty despite his heroics. "Things went well for me because I scored the goals that gave us a win in a very difficult stadium against a team that hadn't lost this season," said the 26-year-old. "I'm very happy but I know it is not very common to score twice in such a short time in a match like this."
For Villas-Boas, who had not tasted defeat since succeeding Jesualdo Ferreira in June last year, there remains plenty of reason for cheer. Eight points clear of Benfica at the domestic summit, and with a UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against Sevilla FC to look forward to, the Nacional game, he hopes, can prove to be a learning a curve.
"We should have done more in the first half," said the 33-year-old, whose side could yet progress to the League Cup semi-finals as Sunday's game was only the first of three group-stage outings. "We improved in the second half but we made the mistakes that allowed Nacional to score. We have to reflect on this. Their second goal came late and we couldn't overturn the deficit."
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