Rio Ave stunned FC Porto Friday night with two late goals for a 2-2 draw that puts the defending champions in a fragile position in their battle with Benfica for the title.
Porto made the short trip to Vila do Conde seeking the must-win three points and they started well with Brahimi scoring early in the 18th minute on a header. An own goal four minutes later by Junio off a Marega shot seem to place Porto en route to an easy win.
It all unraveled though in the final five minutes when Nuno Santos scored on a through ball past Casillas for 1-0. Ronan then stunned Porto and Casillas with a shot that deflected off Telles and carried high enough past Casillas, who did not have the position to knock it away.
After the match, some fans expressed their discontent at the draw that feels more like a loss.
Porto was battling Benfica already with a disadvantage on tie-breaker and now could find themselves behind two points with three matches to play.
“It’s ungrateful what happened today, but the culprits are us, starting with me,” said Sergio Conceição. “It’s not possible to be winning 2-0, with chances to make it 3-0 and 4-0, and then draw. The first goal is no longer used in football, any experienced player can’t allow a goal that way. The second was on a rebound. We have to take responsibility. I’m frustrated, I do not think we deserved it.”
Conceição was asked what to say to fans and he was honest.
“There is nothing to say. Apologize? They do not want to hear excuses, they want to win like I do,” he said.
FC Porto will play at home next week to Aves.
In positive team news, FC Porto’s U19 defeated Hoffenheim 3-0 in the semifinals of the UEFA Youth League on Friday afternoon in Nyon, Switzerland. Porto will now play Chelsea in Monday’s final at 17:00 Portugal time.
Marcel Keizer spoke to press on Friday as Sporting CP prepare to host Vitória Guimarães as their battle with SC Braga for third place continues.
Keizer explained that Bas Dost, who is recuperated, is still not ready to contribute after a long time away.
“Bas Dost will not be called. He has recovered, which is good. The knee is already good, but he has been out several weeks, about a month. You have to work against the resistance, so you do not get injured again. He still needs some time, but I hope he will be available next week,” said Keizer.
Gudelj will also not be available, due to a yellow card suspension.
“Tomorrow, we will see who will replace Gudelj. With our strategy, he is a defensive mid and brings balance to the team. We have an attack team and we need players to balance that. He is one of them. I believe we can play without him. He is important for us, but I believe we are capable of playing well without him,” said Keizer.
Wendel returns after he was left off last week for disciplinary reasons.
Sporting has won eight matches in a row and will play a Guimarães team tonight (18:00) that beat them 1-0 in the first leg.
Keizer also commented on possibly losing players, including someone like Bruno Fernandes, this summer.
“I hope to not lose any important players. I hope they will all stay, But I know how football is, players come and go. I am not afraid of this.”
Call Ups For Tonight
GK: Renan, Salin
D: Ilori, Coates, Ristovski, Mathieu, Borja, Gaspar
M: Bruno Fernandes, Acuna, Wendel, Miguel Luis, Doumbia
F: Raphinha, Diaby, Phellype, Pedro Marques, Jovane