Alex Telles’ departure from FC Porto has already been taken for granted and in recent days the deal for the Brazilian’s transfer to Manchester United has been announced as practically closed, but while continuing to Dragão, the “13” Porto players continue to make a difference. During his championship debut, the “ghost” Sp. Braga always scared the national champions, but with an assist (for Sérgio Oliveira) and two goals from Alex Telles, FC Porto began to defend the title with a victory (3-1).
After an unusual pre-season – fans haven’t had a chance to watch any of FC Porto’s six rehearsals – the national champions’ first entry on the stage showed a squad with no news. While the squad’s announcement made it clear that Zé Luís or Tomás Esteves would no longer tell Sérgio Conceição, there was doubt whether Alex Telles and Soares, who have one foot outside the Dragon, would still be options. The defender continued to own the left aisle and made a difference; the attacker sat down on the bench. However, the absence of Soares did not open up a place for reinforcements (Taremi or Evanílson).
On the other hand, it was certain that Carlos Carvalhal’s return to Braga would bring changes. Although the coach kept the option for three central, the departure of Palhinha and Trincão required changes, but Carvalhal had more problems: Gaitán, the most media backup, is injured; Paulinho, who remains in the no-go-out, was not used.
Thus, the first “eleven” of Sp. Braga 2020-21 had two reinforcements that guaranteed “muscle” in the midfield (Al Musrati and Castro), and an attack less populated than usual: Ruiz and Ricardo Horta were the more advanced.
The result of this tactical cocktail was a strong entry from FC Porto, rewarded with an excellent goal from Otávio in the 13th, but an offside from Corona canceled out Porto’s advantage. Dominated so far, Sp. Braga responded effectively: after a well-designed game from Esgaio and Sequeira, Castro used one of his strengths and, with a powerful shot, scored on his return to Dragão.
In the next game, Ruiz handed the ball behind Marchesin’s goal, but eight centimeters prevented the former Barcelona from scoring the third goal with the Sp. Braga shirt.
Although they breathe a sigh of relief, the Portistas blame the handicap and the “ghost” Sp. Braga again scares the “dragons”: the Braga have won the last three clashes with Porto.
The best of Público by e-mail
Subscribe to newsletters for free and receive the best news and the most in-depth work from Público.
Less domineering, FC Porto ceased to appear with danger near Matheus’ goal, but the “blues and whites” made the opponent prove his own poison. At the break, in the best phase of Sp. Braga, Telles helped Sérgio Oliveira, who scored with a header; in the next game, Raul Silva knocked down Marega in the zone and Telles added the first league goal on the first assist.
Without a change, the Minho got better and better in the second half and at 49 ‘Ricardo Horta did everything right, but with only Marchesin ahead the winger applied for the protagonist of one of the I Liga failures. .
With Sp. Braga at the top, Carvalhal tried a chance at match time (entries from Galeno, André Horta and Schettine), but despite maintaining (apparent) control, Minho only returned to create a danger once again, again for Ricardo Horta, and in the 90th minute another reckless penalty from a Braga player (Tormena’s absence on Taremi) was used by Alex Telles to double down and seal the first triumph of FC Porto.