Fri, Nov 23, 2012 - Page 18 News List

UEFA Champions League: Moutinho pulls the strings as Porto demolish Dinamo

Reuters, PORTO

Midfielder Joao Moutinho pulled Porto’s strings by scoring and setting up another two in a 3-0 drubbing of hapless Dinamo Zagreb that kept the Portuguese in command of UEFA Champions League Group A on Wednesday.

Portugal international Moutinho was in inspired form for Porto, who were already assured of a round-of-16 place.

He found Lucho Gonzalez for the opener on 20 minutes through some textbook passing play, blasted the second himself from a free-kick in the second half and finished with a wonderful back-heel to set up Silvestre Varela’s third.

Porto will win the group if they take a point from their final game next month away to second-placed Paris Saint-Germain.

“It was another good match. I am pleased, but we still want to finish top of the group and do so playing good football,” Porto coach Vitor Pereira said.

The hosts commanded possession from the start, but the visitors almost caught them by surprise when Brazilian-born forward Sammir blasted a diagonal shot against the post from a quick counterattack.

Dinamo, still looking for their first goal of the group stage, were then caught out when Porto pierced their frail defense with a quick first-touch exchange between Moutinho and Colombian striker Jackson Martinez that ended with Gonzalez firing into the net with his left foot from just inside the box.

Fatos Beqiraj almost poked in an equalizer for the Croatian champions after a corner, but Varela cleared off the line.

Porto strolled through the second half and extended their lead when Moutinho swerved in a sweet free-kick that left goalkeeper Ivan Kelava rooted to the spot.

He rounded off his man-of-the-match performance with a back-heel to set up Varela’s third five minutes from time.

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