Quaresma the Porto hero as Athletic fall short

FC Porto 2-1 Athletic Club
Ricardo Quaresma came off the bench to secure the three points for the hosts who take a secure grip on top spot in Group H

• Ricardo Quaresma scores winner four minutes after coming on
Victory gives undefeated Porto two-point cushion at top of Group H
• Guillermo Fernández earlier cancels out Hector Herrera's opener
Athletic Club remain bottom of section after successive defeats
Next games: Athletic Club v Porto (5 November)

FC Porto stretched their advantage at the top of Group H after Ricardo Quaresma came off the bench to secure the three points in a thriller against Athletic Club.

After a 58-year wait to renew acquaintances, the sides did not disappoint in a hectic first half. Starting the day top of the section, the hosts played the central role for much of the first 45, Cristian Tello providing an electric presence on the flanks, zipping about with unmatched energy.

The first chance fell to Bruno Martins Indi who turned wide at the front post after Casemiro crossed low. Tello dragged a shot wide after a hypnotic run, but bottom-of-the-group Athletic were not in Portugal to make up the numbers. With their first shot of the game Mikel San José cracked an effort at goal from a full 30 metres which clipped the body of Martins Indi before giving the post an almighty smack.

It was breathless stuff as Óscar de Marcos denied Porto forward Jackson Martínez from close with a perfectly-timed challenge before Guillermo Fernández scuffed his effort wide at the other end with the goal at his mercy following a spill by keeper Fabiano. The home breakthrough eventually came on the stroke of half-time after a lovely passing move. It culminated as Juan Quintero slipped a ball into the area which Herrera met with a deft right-footed finish that left Gork Iraizoz helpless.

With their qualification hopes receding the visitors came out fired up for the second period and half-time substitute Beñat fizzed an effort just wide from the edge of the area before Guillermo Fernández skillfully beat his man before being denied by Fabiano. The Basque club were level on 58 minutes however, as a loose Porto pass was pounced on in the centre and Beñat released Fernández who ducked inside marker Maicon before slotting into the corner from ten metres.

Neither side was happy to settle for a point and Tello flashed off target while Iker Muniain dragged a low effort just wide for Athletic. It was Ricardo Quaresma who made the difference, however. Four minutes his 71st-minute introduction, the winger jinked in from the left before driving at goal from the edge of the area and seeing his shot slip beneath the body of Gorka Iraizoz and into the net. Aymeric Laporte met a free-kick powerfully with his head as Athletic chased a late equaliser, but the effort was straight at Fabiano as Porto secured the points.

Top