FC Porto broke their scoring duck in this season's UEFA Champions League in emphatic fashion with a defeat of Hamburger SV that leaves the visitors adrift in Group G after three losses.
López scored at the start and finish of the match, with a Lucho González penalty and Hélder Postiga's header helping the Portuguese club to a resounding victory. Third-placed Porto are now four points ahead of Hamburg - whom they visit on 1 November - and within two of Arsenal FC.
PFC CSKA Moskva's win against Arsenal earlier today only underlined the need both sides had for maximum points here. With Bosingwa dropped at right-back, Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira made the surprise decision to give Uruguayan Fucile his debut, but it was lone striker Postiga who made the first impact in torrential conditions, breaking through the Hamburg defence and shooting over.
There was plenty of early work for an injury-hit Hamburg defence, boosted at least by Thimothée Atouba's recovery from groin problems to start at left-back. Ricardo Quaresma made a surging run but visiting goalkeeper Sascha Kirschstein, back from suspension, was equal to his shot, but had no chance of preventing López opening the scoring. Anderson robbed Raphael Wicky, burst in from the left and his cutback eluded Kirschtein, allowing the grateful forward an easy tap-in.
Kirschtein then expertly smothered a Postiga effort and as the rain eased Hamburg found their feet, Mehdi Mahdavikia and Piotr Trochowski both testing Helton from distance. The visitors thought they were level in the 35th minute when Daniel Ljuboja turned in Atouba's cross, but referee Alain Hamer ruled that the forward had fouled Helton. Anderson then broke down holding his right leg and was replaced by Jorginho, but Porto were celebrating as the half ended. From Jorginho's deep corner, Ljuboja handled in the Hamburg area and home captain Lucho González dispatched the penalty.
Mario Fillinger was brought on for his competition debut to give Hamburg some flair in midfield, and Wicky also limped off to make way for another UEFA Champions League newcomer, René Klingbeil. Trochowski made Helton save not long before the hour and Ljuboja came close with a header as Hamburg pushed hard, knowing defeat would leave their hopes of progress in a perilous state.
However, Porto were happy to exploit the space at the other end and Pepe prompted a stop from Kirschstein before Raul Meireles threatened from long range. Juan Pablo Sorín made room for himself in the Porto box, but Bruno Alves made a crucial sliding tackle. Meanwhile, news of Celtic FC's goals against SL Benfica only added to the happy home atmosphere, and the rejoicing was unbridled when Postiga nodded in Quaresma's teasing cross on 69 minutes.
The victory was complete with ten minutes left as López ran on to a through-ball from Bruno Moraes and beat Kirschstein with ease. Trochowski pulled one back with a stylish shot but Hamburg's wretched winless season goes on while the 2004 European champions have a glimpse of light in Group G.