There wasn’t any doubt heading out of the Dragao Stadium in Porto who was the better side in the first leg. Porto won only 1-0 with a goal from João Moutinho, but it was one of the more one-sided affairs we’ve seen in the Champions League this season.
Malaga haven’t lost a match in the Champions League so far, but a Cinderella story can only go so far. Isco is usually drawing praises from every corner of Europe after his matches, but he was subdued, and had to get busy defending, like the rest of his team. The numbers do tell the story – Porto had 18 shots at goal, 5 on target. Malaga has 2 on goal, 0 on target. Corner kicks? 11-2 Porto. Possession? 63-37 to Porto. Case closed.
Willy Caballero had a fine night at goal, and James Rodriguez, still not 100% healthy, probably should have played more than 32 minutes. Porto dominated and amazingly kept pressing for the entire 90 minutes, with an excellent match from Alex Sandro (the assist to Moutinho as well) standing out, but couldn’t get enough clear-cut chances to really make their superiority be noticed on the scoreboard as well.
So is 1-0 enough as they head to Malaga for the second leg? Looking at both teams and what they bring to the table, Porto are the superior side when it comes to quality, and their defense as well. There’s a reason why they’ve conceded only 9 goals this season in Portugal, and it’s an excellent defense. Winning 1-0 in most UCL two-leg clashes is a bad result, and Porto should have done better offensively, but they’re a good enough team to head down to Malaga with confidence, knowing they have the talent and the fortitude to come out of there with a good result as well.
By then, Jackson Martinez will have his Colombian partner playing next to him, well and healthy again, making Porto a much more creative, fun to watch and most importantly, dangerous side once again.