FC Porto virtually guaranteed their place in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals tonight with a comprehensive 6-1 victory against Denizlispor in a fourth round first-leg tie in which all the goals came after the interval.
A well-manned Denizlispor defence frustrated Porto in the first half, although Lithuanian striker Edgaras Jankauskas and forward Capucho both tested visiting goalkeeper Dirk Heinen and midfield player Mario Silva hit the bar from a corner. The Turkish visitors nearly went ahead a minute before the break when Ali Tandogan picked out Ersen Martin but he headed the ball just over the target.
Denizlispor crumbled after the break and Capucho opened the scoring in the 48th minute, jumping high to plant a header inside the right post from playmaker Deco Souza's corner. Derlei put the Portuguese Super Liga leaders further ahead five minutes later by again rising high to connect with a cross from defender Nuno Valente. Free-kick specialist Deco, who adopted Portuguese nationality last week, then set up unmarked defender Ricardo Costa for Porto's third in the 64th minute.
Five minutes later, Capucho found Derlei, whose swift pass was volleyed past Heinen by Jankauskas to make it 4-0 before Deco grabbed his side's fifth with a free-kick. Roman Kratochvíl scored a consolation goal in the 78th minute - the first conceded by Porto at home in this season's UEFA Cup campaign - but is was too little too late.
Crowd in full voice
The home crowd at the Antas stadium were in full voice again eight minutes from time, however, as Russian midfield player Dmitri Alenitchev completed a memorable 45 minutes after receiving a return pass from Derlei, beating three defenders, and then blasting the ball into the net from close range.