Porto got its Champions League campaign off to a victorious start as the club defeated Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 at Stadion Maksimir.
The Portuguese side was in total control on the night but struggled to make the most of its supremacy. Lucho Gonzalez opened the scoring shortly before halftime and Steven Defour added the second in the closing stages as Porto took all three points in its opening Group A fixture.
Porto's assumed the upper hand straight from kickoff as Joao Moutinho settled straight into the game, using his extensive passing ability to search out his teammates in the wide areas. However, the home side looked dangerous itself when breaking at speed through the likes of Sammir and Duje Cop.
After seeing his ball across the box cleared away by Nicolas Otamendi in the sixth minute, Cop proved dangerous again as he was offered too much space on the edge of the Porto box. He fired a shot for the bottom corner of Helton's goal but his effort crashed into the side netting.
The Dragoes continued to retain the ball in the Dinamo half but for all the joy they were getting on the wings, either the final ball was absent or Josip Simunic was dealing with it.
Porto finally worked an opportunity to score in the 40th minute but Jackson Martinez was unable to convert. With the goal gaping after rounding Ivan Kelava, he took far too long to get a shot away and allowed Tonel to make a brilliant recovering challenge to deny him a simple tap in.
The defender's work was made irrelevant just one minute later as Kelava failed to claim Alex Sandro's low cross from the left. The keeper only managed to parry it straight into the danger area where Lucho was on hand to tap in the opener.
Dinamo was unable to retain the ball in the second half and this contributed to keeping the momentum in Porto's favor. Yet Vitor Pereira's men lacked fluency in the final third and were unable to convert their possession into chances.
It almost proved incredibly costly in the 63rd minute as Sammir's corner flew perilously close to Helton's near post. The keeper was unable to make an effective clearance and Tonel almost converted with an acrobatic effort but Helton got a hand to it before turning it behind at the second attempt.
The Dragoes immediately responded with an opportunity of their own when James latched onto a long ball but he failed to get enough elevation on his volley, allowing Kelava to make an impressive save.
With just over 10 minutes remaining Bryan Carrasco saw his header cleared off the line by Helton before Porto substitute Kleber shot wide in a one-on-one situation.
There was still time for Porto to find the goal it had been threatening to find all night as Defour dinked the ball over Kelava from Christian Atsu's pass clearing up a swift break in second half stoppage time.
But come the final whistle Pereira's men still held the advantage, inflicting Ante Cacic's first defeat as Dinamo coach, though they will need a vastly improved performance when they host Paris Saint-Germain in the next round of fixtures.
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- Steven Defour
- Lucho Gonzalez