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Falcao swoops to give Porto perfect start

PFC CSKA Sofia 0-1 FC Porto
Falcao scored the only goal to give his side two wins from two in Group L, but the scoreline could have been far more emphatic.

Falcao celebrates scoring Porto's winner in Sofia
Falcao celebrates scoring Porto's winner in Sofia ©Getty Images

FC Porto made it two wins in as many games in UEFA Europa League Group L after a 1-0 victory against PFC CSKA Sofia that was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.

Indeed, Porto could have been out of sight by the break but only had Falcao's 16th-minute strike to show for their first-half efforts. They almost came to rue those missed chances as CSKA gave them one or two frights after the restart, but the Portuguese Liga leaders also continued to go close and were good value for their victory.

CSKA had not won in their previous six games against Portuguese opposition and the early stages did nothing to suggest that run would end at the Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski. Porto were already well on top before taking the lead. Hulk was the instigator, combining power with grace to first commit CSKA defenders, and then slip in Falcao. The Colombia striker only provided the merest of touches, but it was enough to beat Raïs M'Bolhi.

Hulk was causing the home side interminable problems and nine minutes before the break another trademark foray ended with a fierce shot that M'Bolhi did well to beat away. The keeper then saved Falcao's drive and Fernando Belluschi hit the bar from distance as Porto threatened to open up an unassailable lead.

The chances kept on coming for André Villas-Boas's side after the interval. However, out of nowhere CSKA then squandered a golden opportunity to level when Michel nodded Fabrizio Grillo's inviting cross tamely wide. Porto were still the more dangerous but the traffic was not one way anymore, and Cillian Sheridan passed up two more headed openings. Despite this, the visitors controlled the closing stages and never looked in danger of dropping the points.