FC Porto rounded off their Group D campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory at Club Atlético de Madrid, even the prospect of a UEFA Europa League place failing to rouse the disappointing hosts.
With APOEL FC only managing a 2-2 draw with Chelsea FC the Spanish side were handed a European reprieve as they finished third by virtue of an away goal in their head-to-head record against the Cypriot side. Yet on this evidence Quique Sánchez Flores plenty of work to do as already-qualified Porto put them to the sword at the Vicente Calderón. Early goals from Bruno Alves and Falcao set them on their way, Hulk sealing a handsome triumph 14 minutes from time to ensure Porto go into the UEFA Champions League first knockout round draw on 18 December fearing no one.
Quique Flores said before the game he wanted his side to focus on beating Porto but his words fell on deaf ears – within two minutes a static back line allowed Alves to climb unchallenged for a corner and direct a looping header over Sergio Asenjo. It was only the defender's second UEFA Champions League goal in 35 appearances. The visitors – already assured a place in the tournament's first knockout round – revelled in the pressure-free environment and almost went 2-0 up when Diego Valeri outsmarted Juanito before seeing his close-range shot parried by Asenjo.
The goalkeeper was less impressive on 14 minutes as Jesualdo Ferreira's side doubled their advantage, Asenjo parrying Fucile's speculative effort from distance straight into the path of Falcao, who steered in his third goal of the group stage. With news filtering through that APOEL had taken the lead at Chelsea, the home supporters at the Vicente Calderón demanded more urgency. Their side responded as Sergio Agüero hit the side-netting, Simão also threatening and as the game opened up Falcao spurned a glorious chance to make it 3-0 when he headed wide from five metres.
It was a rare fillip for an Atlético side down on their luck. Yet though Diego Forlán peppered the fans behind Porto's goal with three wild shorts from distance, a quick glance at the scoreboard at half-time slightly assuaged the Atlético faithful with Chelsea 2-1 up against APOEL. Things soured again after the break as Sergio Agüero limped off almost immediately and despite the best efforts of Simão and Juanito, usually working in tandem, the home side's night never improved.
The sight of Maicon limping off injured aside, Porto were never troubled and it took a great block from Asenjo to deny Valeri after Hulk's through-ball. That may have convinced the Brazilian forward to go it alone the next time the Atlético back line opened up before him and he did not disappoint. Running on to a pass from substitute Fredy Guarín, Hulk beat defender Álvaro Domínguez before thumping a left-footed drive in off the underside of the crossbar to send the visiting supporters into ecstasy.
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.