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Champions League recap: Porto keep it tight to qualify at a canter

Porto suffered defeat on Matchday 1 but did not concede another goal en route to the last 16.

Watch all of Porto's group stage goals
Watch all of Porto's group stage goals

Porto's excellent defensive record ensured they qualified from UEFA Champions League Group C with something to spare.

UEFA.tv: group stage review

Campaign so far

Highlights (2 mins): Porto 3-0 Marseille
Highlights (2 mins): Porto 3-0 Marseille

Group C runners-up: W4 D1 L1 F10 A3
Top scorer: Sérgio Oliveira (3)

21/10: Man. City 3-1 Porto (Luis Díaz 14)
27/10: Porto 2-0 Olympiacos (Fábio Vieira 11, Sérgio Oliveira 85)
03/11: Porto 3-0 Marseille (Marega 4, Sérgio Oliveira 28pen, Luis Díaz 69)
25/11: Marseille 0-2 Porto (Zaidu Sanusi 39, Sérgio Oliveira 72pen)
01/12: Porto 0-0 Man. City
: Olympiacos 0-2 Porto (Otávio 10pen, Uribe 77)

Their campaign in ten words: Overcame an opening setback to prove class at either end.

UEFA.com reporter’s view

Porto achieved their main goal of qualifying, doing so in second place with a match to spare. Following a first-night defeat at City, Porto pieced together three consecutive wins. Their solid defence – going four straight games without conceding – allied with two hard-working and clever midfielders in Sérgio Oliveira and Matheus Uribe, played a major part, as did the experience of Jesús Corona and Otávio.
Carlos Machado, Porto reporter

What we’ve learned

Zaidu Sanusi enjoyed a fine group stage
Zaidu Sanusi enjoyed a fine group stageGetty Images

Despite starting with a defeat by City, the Dragons once again proved their competitiveness at this level. Coach Sérgio Conceição has mostly stuck with a 4-3-3 system and the core of his existing squad, though new signings Malang Sarr and Zaidu Sanusi had crucial roles in covering for the injury-troubled Pepe and the departed Alex Telles respectively.

Midfield remains perhaps the team's primary strength, with Matheus Uribe, Sérgio Oliveira and Otávio offering support in defence as well as no shortage of goals at the other end.

Squad changes

In: Carraça
Out: Shoya Nakajima

Key stats

• Porto kept five clean sheets in the group stage; only City and Chelsea let in fewer goals than their three.

Ronaldo 2009 stunner against Porto
Ronaldo 2009 stunner against Porto

• Porto picked up 13 points, only three less than their best ever tally registered in both 1996/97 and 2018/19.

• The Dragons are in the knockout stage for a fourth straight season, matching their previous best run in the competition from 2006/07 to 2009/10.

Who’s in charge?

A three-time Portuguese top-flight winner across two playing spells with Porto, former Portugal winger Sérgio Conceição has steered the club to two more championships since rejoining from Nantes in 2017.