Porto extend Dinamo losing streak
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
GNK Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 FC Porto
Beaten in all six of their group games last season, the hosts opened their latest campaign with another defeat, Porto scoring at the end of each half.
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Goals at the end of each half earned FC Porto a 2-0 Group A win at GNK Dinamo Zagreb, as coach Ante Čačić suffered the first defeat of his tenure with the Croatian champions.
Dinamo had gone 33 matches unbeaten since Čačić replaced Krunoslav Jurčić last December, but Lucho González's tap-in and a last-gasp Steven Defour strike saw the post-Hulk era at Porto begin with a victory despite a late rally from the home side.
Lucho's goal, after goalkeeper Ivan Kelava had pushed out a low cross from the left by marauding full-back Alex Sandro, was the perfect way for the visiting captain to mark his 50th UEFA Champions League appearance. It was also the first score of his second spell at Porto after rejoining from Olympique de Marseille in January 2012.
The elegant midfielder, abetted by João Moutinho's artful prompting, made frequent forays forward once Porto got on top. The Portuguese visitors had been forced to weather an early Dinamo storm, during which time Sammir had a shot blocked and Duje Čop fired wide.
The breakthrough, in the 41st minute, came seconds after Dinamo had survived a penalty appeal for a challenge by Kelava on Jackson Martinez, and was a cruel blow considering the home defence had stood fast for so long – with Croatian international centre-half Josip Šimunić outstanding. Pre-match, many of the questions had surrounded players who moved at the end of the transfer window, and Dinamo were certainly feeling the loss of former skipper Milan Badelj, now at Hamburger SV, from their midfield.
Dinamo's energetic second-half efforts began to yield chances and Porto No1 Helton was called into action to prevent Tonel scoring against the club whose youth system he had come through. Bryan Carrasco's attempt 12 minutes from time also had Helton scrambling, while at the other end Porto substitutes Kléber and Christian Atsu squandered opportunities too. Defour administered the coup de grace in stoppage time, clipping the ball over goalkeeper Kelava after being set up by Atsu.
Dinamo had set an unwanted group stage record in conceding 22 goals on their way to zero points last term, a campaign that started with a 1-0 home reverse against Real Madrid CF. Čačić now has to pick his players up for the trip to FC Dynamo Kyiv, with Porto hosting Paris Saint-Germain FC in an eye-catching matchday two encounter.