UEFA.com reporter David Crossan praises Julen Lopetegui's tactics and Jackson Martínez's surprise impact yet FC Porto expect FC Bayern München to come back strongly.
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Tactical victory for Lopetegui
Press FC Bayern München high up the pitch, don't allow them to stroke the ball around at the back, knock them off their stride and exploit their relative fallibility in defence. That was Julen Lopetegui's recipe for success on the biggest night of his club coaching career as FC Porto secured a 3-1 UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg win. Understated defender Bruno Martins Indi told UEFA.com: "We spoke about pressing them. That was the advice from the coach, and it worked for us."
Choosing the right moment to press is much easier said than done, so Lopetegui could thank his players for executing the plans to perfection in an explosive start with Ricardo Quaresma scoring twice in the first ten minutes, allowing him to get one over his former FC Barcelona team-mate Josep Guardiola.
Midfielder Yacine Brahimi expanded: "We wanted to press them very high up the pitch and in a very intense fashion right from kick-off. It worked and it paid off for us."
Jackson Martínez gamble pays off
Lopetegui sprang a surprise by naming captain Jackson Martínez in the starting lineup after more than a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Doubts about the Colombian international's match fitness were allayed in the opening seconds as he went from a seemingly disinterested observer of Bayern's possession game to picking Xabi Alonso's pocket and then winning a penalty as he was brought down by Manuel Neuer.
Martinez's subsequent 65th-minute goal, his sixth in this season's UEFA Champions League, was a thing of beauty. A complete forward, Martínez has the skills to go with his power and nuisance value as he proved by plucking Alex Sandro's long pass out of the sky and then rounding Neuer before converting. Martínez lasted the full 94 minutes and 15 seconds, being a close second to Quaresma in the man-of-the-match stakes.
Statistics don't tell the whole story
Alonso had a 100% pass completion rate with Dante (93%) and Jérôme Boateng (88%) close behind. Yet it was an unhappy evening for all three players as they were implicated in Porto goals one, two and three respectively. One of the images of the night was Alonso beating the ground in frustration in the second period as Martínez almost managed to rob him again.
Even Bayern suffer with key players out
With six outfield players absent through injury, Guardiola only managed to nominate a full bench by including two goalkeepers. Bayern lacked their usual fluency, looked vulnerable whenever Porto regained possession and could desperately have done with a moment of individual brilliance that the injured Arjen Robben (abdominals) or Franck Ribéry (ankle) might have provided.
The tie is far from over
Yet for all that, just listen to Brahimi. "It was an exceptional display. We couldn't have dreamed of a better result than 3-1, but we've still got an away game to play and it will be very, very difficult."
Despite their first defeat on Portuguese soil, Bayern's away goal gives them hope they can make the semi-finals for the fourth campaign running. Adding to the potential for a turnaround in this tie – depriving Porto of the last-four spot they have been striving for ever since winning the tournament in 2004 – is the fact both of Lopetegui's starting full-backs, Danilo and Alex Sandro, will sit out the second leg through suspension.
Approaching next Tuesday's Munich sequel in the right frame of mind will be key for Porto, and Brahimi said: "Over there we need to play the way we did this evening – that is to play our game and play normally. We'll have to defend very well and be strong as a team."