FC Porto continued their impressive unbeaten home record against English clubs with a decisive win against a youthful Arsenal FC side to claim first place in UEFA Champions League Group G.
Goal in each half
With victory needed for Porto to overhaul their opponents at the top of the table, Bruno Alves headed the home team in front from a corner just before half-time. Lisandro effectively wrapped up the points early in the second period, racing clear of the Arsenal defence before supplying an emphatic finish. The visitors had their chances but had to settle for second in the section and will now face one of the other group winners when the first knockout round draw is made in Nyon on 19 December.
Despite resting first-team regulars including captain Cesc Fàbregas and Emmanuel Adebayor, Arsenal moved the ball around confidently from the start and had the first sight of goal in the fifth minute, although Johan Djourou failed to direct his header on target after beating goalkeeper Helton to Denilson's free-kick. Instead it was Djourou's goalkeeper, Manuel Almunia, who was the first to be called into action, diving to gather Bruno Alves's low free-kick. Goalmouth action was largely at a premium, however, as Arsenal's young midfield quartet – Abou Diaby the senior member at 22 – controlled the tempo with admirable composure; the Portuguese champions merely tried to exploit the pace of Hulk on the break.
Initially Arsenal's tactic looked more likely to pay dividends, the impressive Aaron Ramsey cutting in from the right and forcing Helton to dive full-length to turn his firm strike behind. Porto responded with Lucho blazing over from Hulk's measured cut-back, before Almunia came to his side's rescue, blocking Lisandro's effort after the busy Argentinian latched on to William Gallas's misplaced pass. Raul Meireles then shot wide as Jesualdo Ferreira's men warmed to their task, and Porto were rewarded for their spell of pressure six minutes before half-time. Bruno Alves rose unchallenged to head Raul Meireles's right-wing corner down past the Arsenal goalkeeper for his first UEFA Champions League goal.
The second half began with Arsenal pressing for an equaliser but, as the game became stretched, Porto took advantage in clinical fashion nine minutes after the restart. Fernando's perfectly-weighted pass split the away rearguard and Lisandro burst clear down the right to thump a rising shot into the top corner, his fourth goal in the competition this term. The busy Ramsey attempted to drag his team back into the contest but Helton saved his weak effort, and that proved the Welshman's last contribution as he and Diaby were withdrawn by Arsène Wenger in favour of teenagers Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs.
Porto continued to pick off their young opponents, Cristián Rodríguez almost making it three as he surged down the left and flashed a strike across the face of goal. Arsenal were tiring and Porto had opportunities to add further goals and avenge their 4-0 defeat in north London on Matchday 2, Lucho rifling wide after a run down the right from the now-rampant Lisandro. But they had already done more than enough.