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Sunday, 23 February 2014 21:39

Estoril grab historic win at the Dragão

FC Porto 0-1 Estoril

paulo-fonseca-20131105.jpgThere is no longer any doubt. It is a full-blown crisis at FC Porto. A second-half Evandro penalty gave Estoril their first ever win at Porto in 22 attempts - Porto's first league defeat at home since 2008/09. Should Benfica beat Vitória Guimarães at home tomorrow the Dragons will be 7 points behind the leaders with 10 games remaining. Just as worrying, Porto are two points behind Sporting in second place and may now find it difficult to supplant the Lions for the second automatic Champions League spot.

The game followed the template of so many of Porto's matches this season. The home team were generally on top and enjoyed more possession, but made poor use of it without an apparently clearly defined plan of how to attack. Porto's (lack of) idea going forwards seemed largely confined to giving the ball to Quaresma to weave some magic, or spraying the ball wide to swing cross after cross into the box.

Given the overall higher quality of Porto's players compared to all but their direct rivals for the title, this lack of tactical acumen is rarely costly in domestic play. But in Europe it proved disastrous (even against fairly modest opposition) and whenever even their Portuguese adversary is on their game, Porto have struggled to gain the three points. Four Liga defeats (to Académica, Marítimo, Benfica and now Estoril) in the opening 20 games of the season is almost unheard of in Porto's recent history. In the previous three seasons Porto had been beaten just once in the league.

It could have been so different if near misses from Varela (41') or Quaresma then Herrera (54') had got the better of Estoril goalkeeper Wagner, but the scarcity of clear chances exemplified Porto's poor overall play, although it would be unjust not to mention something we have now come to expect - Estoril's superb organisation. The key moment came on 76 minutes when Mangala brought down Evandro in the box, with a penalty and a red card for the Frenchman ensuing. Evandro picked himself up and calmly beat Helton from the spot. There was no way back for Porto.

The furious home supporters vented their frustration as the match neared its end, chanting "you are shameful" to the team and inviting coach Paulo Fonseca to "go home".

Fonseca cut a forlorn figure at the end of the 90 minutes and his flash interview had a certain air of inevitability about it, as regards his future at the club. When asked about his position, he replied: "Let's see. Let's see. This gap (to 1st place) is difficult to accept. I'll speak to the president."

Watch this space.

by Tom Kundert

Comments (41)
The league is better
41 Wednesday, 26 February 2014 19:51
I think we should stop talking about how bad porto are, and think that maybe the rest of the league is better. This year the big 3 are in the top 3, as they should be. Sporting havent been this good in years. Also, we have now established a secondary group of teams with great structure from top to bottom and young talent: estoril, braga, nacional, guimaraes, maritimo. Then there are teams that have been in the league consistently over the past 10 years: rio ave, setubal, academica, olhanense. And also, this year, Belenenses is back in the league and boa vista will join next year. Those are the 2 teams that have won the liga, and they have great fan bases who want to see them win. So really, i think this is more of the league catching up to porto. Other teams in the league have figured out the formula of getting young players, and letting them play, while i think Benfica have gone a step further, and developed young players, and have been able to keep a few core players to make the team consistent every year.
@Ivo and @ Jonah
40 Wednesday, 26 February 2014 02:23
Ivo, your post is true, but can't a guy just vent about the Ginger Judas for a bit? Lol. He's a good, but not great coach. It wasn't all the players effort that brought success that year, but I credit the scouts and administrators for creating that team. AVB also did his part.

Also, Mourinhos Porto was the best team in Europe at the time. Looking back on it now, it is fair to say that, just as it is fair to say Benfica currently has one of the top teams in Europe the last 3 seasons.

Jonah, I never said Iturbe sucked. I think he is a prodigy, but sometimes these players and the chemistry of the coach/team don't work. I don't want us to lose him or give him away for free. He does deserve a shot.

On Josue, he is not the finished product yet, but he is a very underrated player. I see him the same way I saw Moutinho at Sporting/Seleccao in 2008. He has the ball carrying and creative skills, but is on an underperforming team. His biggest liability is his temper and his long range shot is wasteful. But he is talented, give him time.
39 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 21:26
Apologies Chris, I saw your reply to me earlier about Laudrup, I forgot to remove it from my later comment

Im glad you agree with me on so many points, but believe me when I say that I, being a major Iturbe fan, have watched all of Iturbe performances this season for Verona and can honestly say that he has performed better than every winger on our team. He has 5 goals in one of the toughedt leagues defensively and has been exactly the type of player we need this season, biggest mistake of the season. And about Josue, I doubt ill be able to change your mind but ive given my opinion on him

Stay classy PortuGOAL commenters.
38 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 18:16
Come on now Chris. If we're going to completely discredit AVB's success with Porto because it was the players and not the manager, then we can probably say the same thing about every manager Porto has had in recent years including Mourinho. Porto bought really well and achieved success, but the manager's have been big components of that success. Yes Porto overachieved massively by winning the UCL with Mourinho and I give him full credit, but to use your logic he had one of the most stacked Porto teams in history and very helpful UCL draws. Then he went on to coach ridiculously stacked Chelsea, Inter and Real teams. The point is that AVB didn't just succeed because of the players.

As far as his ego is concerned, I don't doubt that he has an ego, since that pretty much comes with the territory for any ambitious, aspiring manager. But I don't see how his ego is any worse than someone like Mourinho, for example. I understand you're mad as a Portista that he left, but come on now I can almost guarantee that a massive pay day and chance to coach at a huge club would tempt every single manager that has passed through Porto in recent years.
Thoughts on the strength of Portuguese teams
37 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 17:55
Firstly reading the comments on this article has been a pleasure. Rately is there so much passion dispayed by fans

Secondly, before I start, I just want to say, sorry if I offend anyone with my comments but if I do, then please know that it was not my intention.

OK, so obviously a lot of people feel that Porto are in decline etc. and that could be the case but I think another factor to consider could be that Portuguese football and the Liga as a whole is on the up and has greatly improved over the last few years. Teams like Estoril, Braga, Nacional and Guimaraes have emerged and are performing well and consistently not only in the Zliga but also on the European stage as well. I still think were not at the stage where a Braga or Guimaraes can win the league but these teams are well placed to challenge in the Europa league and hopefully compete and get to the knockout stages in some years. Besides the above mentioned teams, there are also very few teams that are easy to beat now in the Liga. Teams are now well drilled, professional, compact, disciplined and well organised.

On another note, Benfica and Sporting (this year), have greatly improved thier on and off field operations. Benfica is now actually ranked one of the top 10 teams in Europe. Incidentally Porto is ranked just behind Benfica and in my humble opinion this doesn't mean that they are in decline.

On the contrary, with the tightening of the financial fair play rules it will be harder for teams to buy the best talent at a premium price as this has effectively acts like a salary / transfer cap for those big spending clubs like Man City or PSG etc.

These are the rankings (in bracketts) from the past few years;

2008/9 - Porto (19), Benfica (21) Sporting (20)
2009/10 - Porto (17), Benfica (17) Sporting (28)
2010/11 - Porto (8), Benfica (17) Sporting (25)
2011/12 - Porto (9), Benfica (14) Sporting (17)
2012/13 - Porto (8), Benfica (9) Sporting (23)
2013/14 - Porto (11), Benfica (7) Sporting (31)

As you can see Porto has slightly moved up and down the top 10 for a few years now but Benfica has moved from a top 20 to top 10 team. Whilst Sporting have been in decline we all know what they have done this year and I for one fully expect them to get back into the top 20 shortly.

Benfica must be favourites this year just because of the points gap but nothing has been decided yet.

Thanks for readings and feel free to agree/disagree/comment etc.

@ Jonah
36 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 17:16
I guess you don't read the comments because I spoke to your wish for Laudrup. I recommend reading the article I referenced. I agree with you on a few things and disagree on others.

First, Josue. I seem to be the only Portista that likes this kid. He's a talent but played on the wing he is not very good. I'm convinced PF plays him here because of his accurate crossing. But Josue is a creative mid. He's a great FK specialist, good on crosses and a good penalty taker.

He's got 4 goals in 14 games and for a guy who is played out of position that's pretty good, even if a few of those goals are penalties. When played in his natural role, he is a great dribbler, passer and spreads the ball nicely.

The Eintracht performance you mention only speaks to the tactical ineptitude of Fonseca. Josue was the only consistent threat and passed or shot it away because his teammates were invisible.

Point is, many Portistas write him off because he's the coach's personal player from his old team. He's good, and has shown it in flashes but needs consistent selection in his correct role.

I agree with you that Carlos Eduardo and Quintero are also very good. Quintero should be getting playing time and Eduardo is a great passer and has good vision. I also think that you are right about Herrera.

He's really stepped up his game and shown skill and creativity. He seems to drift back and forth from a CDM to CAM role which I think still confuses Fernando, but he's shown to be very good.

Regarding the sub's, I again agree with you (awesome hipster quote BTW with being "too mainstream"), PF is poor in this respect. However, I think PF has been poor in most respects so far. He has been unable to deal with adversity, shows no tactical flexibility and is not motivating the team.

The biggest issue I have with PF is that he shares JJ's inability in past seasons to learn from mistakes. The team is aweful on defensive set pieces and this has not changed. Only recently has he tried to reinforce the back line but it's not working that well. And if Porto go down a goal, you can pretty much go home because it's a guaranteed loss.

I also disagree with you on Iturbe. Yes he seems to have talent, but if both PF and VP don't think you're good enough, either tactically or in discipline, there must be some basis for this.

Anyways, let's hope some changes or improvements start taking shape.
35 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 15:57
1 lost in 90 league games & the era of dominance is coming to a close? goes to show the intelligence of people
My personal opinion on this crisis
34 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 13:58
We've been playing some shocking football, this is literally one of the worst Porto teams I've seen in a while, we literally have a squad with 2 actual wingers, one of whom is a shadow of his former self, and the other is Varela, who can't deliver a good cross, can't beat a defender, and has potentially set a new record for the most times falling over whilst dribbling..

We only have 1 game plan when attacking, play it around the middle, then pass it out to Danilo or Alex Sandro, because they're the only ones who can cross apparently. Quaresma puts in decent balls but when the only player in the box actually going for the ball is Jackson, against 4 defenders, it's not going to work. I'm pretty sure if you looked at the statistics from the UCL we'd have the most crosses per game, purely because that's all we seem to do.

Josué is most definitely not a winger, and Paulo Fonseca needs to wake up and realise this. Not only is he not a winger, he's just generally not a good player, the only reason he's a starter is because our manager use to manage him at his former club, any other manager would see how average he is and play Quintero or Carlos Eduardo instead. How many times in the Frankfurt game and in this game did Josue sprint through the middle with no real plan of action, and once he got into the final third, made a wayward pass of a ridiculous longshot that looks nowhere close to going in?

On another note, Fonseca is absolutely dreadful with his substitutions, in the past 2 games his substitutions have been EXACTLY the same! 2 substitutions (because using all of your subs when you're losing/drawing is far too mainstream ) where he brings on Carlos Eduardo and Ghilas, who procceed to do jack all.

Lica is a striker in winger's clothing, he can't deliver a good cross and he can't take a defender on and beat him. Thankfully with the addition of Quaresma Lica's injust playing time ahead of players like Kelvin and Quintero has been frozen out.

Varela is the one of the actual wingers we have, and as I've been saying for a long long time now, he's so average. Even in the AVB era, he was the weak point in the attack, when you've got Falcao and Hulk upfront with you, Moutinho and Guarin behind you, it's hard for people to notice how little you contribute, about 80% of his crosses are blocked/deflected.

Herrera has been playing well recently, he has the stamina of Moutinho and is fairly creative. In time he can be, I think, a decent replacement for Moutinho, not the same, but good enough. I'm glad Fonseca has noticed how badly Defour and Fernando work together.

Juan Quintero really needs to start playing more, and starting more, ahead of Josue. I really don't understand how players like Oscar, Coutinho e.t.c, young attacking midfielders, can play regularly for top teams, when Quintero, who is on par with those players, is a bench warmer for us. Not to mention we loaned out Iturbe who is doing so well at Verona (I told you all so....)

The only players who have actually been playing well this season are Fernando, Jackson, Alex Sandro and Danilo, everyone else has been average at best.

On the topic of Sandro and Danilo, why in the hell have we not acquired replacements for them? If Danilo were to get a red card in his next league match, who would we play? Mangala wouldn't be eligible because he's also suspended, so we'd have to play Ricardo Pereira at right back, which does not work well at all. And what if Sandro were to get a red card in his next match? Mangala again wouldn't be allowed to play, so who? Hector Quinones deserves the spot IMO but Fonseca would probably play Lica at left back or something, he's tactically inept.

Speaking of B team players, when is Tozé going to play for the first team? If any of you watch Porto B, you'd see how good he is, he literally plays just like Moutinho, if not slightly higher up the pitch, and if I'm not mistaken, he's the top scorer in the league. If I were to rank the current #10 players in the team, it would be:

1. Quintero
2. Carlos Eduardo
3. Tozé
4. Josué

What needs to be done? Fonseca needs to go, especially if we don't beat Eintreicht Frankfurt on Thursday, if this team can't beat the 13th placed team in Germany over two legs then that would be an absolute disgrace, I would feel ashamed to wear the blue and white.

A good replacement? Michael Laudrup, or if we're feeling lucky, Frank Rijkaard
Someone get matt a Nobel prize in fiction
33 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 11:34
Captain Obvious/Land of Observations
Excellent little tale you weaved there matt. I especially enjoyed how you went from Porto selling too many players (which is accurate), to wanting too much money for them (I seem to recall Benfica trying to draw millions more from Galatasary for Cardozo over the summer), to Bernard's personal feelings and decision-making (Mitch's response to this is perfect).

But your greatest work is criticising Antonio for his comments on Benfica when your posts are almost consistently about undermining Porto and Sporting. A little of the old "pot calling the kettle black" if you will.

Compare Antonio's statement (which is 100% true), to your criticism of Porto's greed, "decline", and your assessment of Montero after a few bad games. I'd say Matt loves to dish it out but has very thin skin indeed.

If Porto are in decline (10 of last 12 Liga titles, and 3 European championships in last 10 years), then Benfica are the Roman Empire, long since extinct. Seriously, I love this automatic chest thumping Benfiquistas like this guy do before the season is even over, it makes it enjoyable to watch when JJ chokes worse than Shaquille O'Neal at the free-throw line.
@ Matt
32 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 11:10
Guy, every comment on my posting is the truth and accurate. you just cant handle the truth!
I don't hate benfica, just really dislike people like my cousin and you lol.
And please don't choke on ur dinner unless im there to laugh and after a good while save ur ass!! lol again
31 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 10:55
Hmmmm... I wonder why Bernard opted for Shakhtar... maybe it was because of his 4.5 million Euro salary? Nahh, it was because of Porto's greed, obviously.
Lets play the blame game
30 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 08:39
p0rt0b0y Sydney Australia
You can blame the PDC, you can blame the players, you can blame the ball boys the ground staff, Os Superdragoes and the referee but at the end of the day its one persons responsibility to get the players motivated and playing good, free flowing football.

That person is Paulo Fonseca and he has failed miserably in every aspect.

Yes we sold 2 of our key players in Moutinho and to a lesser extent James in the off season but there is nothing new there, we are a selling club. We need to be a selling club to stay afloat financially. We have always overcome this ans won anyway.

The recruitment was poorly planned and you have to assume that Fonseca yas the last word on what players are brought in. To loan out Iturbe and keep Lica in his position is unforgivable. Anyone who watched the pre season games could see that Iturbe has truckloads of talent.

Why was Fucile frozen out? Why dont Ghilas, Kelvin, Reyes and most importantly Quintero get a chance to show what they can give? Quintero and Kelvin especially are the future of the club and they get zero playing time. They add exactly what the team needs, creativity. But no, Fonseca insists on playing Josue (not good enough for Porto) in the number 10 role. Why is Helton still a starter? He doesnt insipre any confidence at all. Why were no back ups\ competition for Alex Sandro and Danilo brought in? There are too many questions that Fonseca does not have the answers to. He is destroying the squads confidence.

Why does he continue to insist on playing two holding midfielders when my cat can see that it doesnt work? Why does he have no plan B when things dont go as planned. Why have I yet to see him make one sub that actually improved our play?

You can make all the excuses you like but only one conclusion can be reached if you consider the facts. Fonseca is way way way over his head and should be put out of his misery for his own good, the good of the club and my mental health.

In my view Marco Silva would be a risky replacement. Domingos has done nothing to prove that he is capable of taking over at a club like Porto and AVB should be barred from the premises for the back stabbing he pulled.

We need a manager with you extensive European experience, who has a good track record for developing young players and plays an attractive, attacking style of football. Who this might be I have no idea.
Porto vs Estoril
29 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 02:23

Jesualdo Ferreira as new coach?
28 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 02:09
So Jesualdo Ferreira just recently part ways with Braga. What do you guys think of him coming back to porto? I think he might seem promising
some things never change...
27 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 01:33
And Antonio making ridiculous Benfica hating comments is one of them. Haven't heard much from you since the derby shattered your unrealistic dreams of silverware and your team failed to show up.

I guess you finally came out of your self induced exile... Unfortunately, your true personality is still on display for all to see. And here I thought it was only Northerners who hated Benfica with such passion, silly me.

Is it hate or jealously that drives you to make such assinine comments.

Your time would be better served trying to figure out how Freddie Montero turned from future superstar to flop in a matter of weeks...

50 mil buyout clause. That noise you just heard was me choking on my dinner. HAHAHA!
One thing that gets overlooked...
26 Tuesday, 25 February 2014 01:24
I have been waiting to bring this up for a while now. One thing that I believe has contributed to Porto's decline, but that is never mentioned, is their conduct and policy with regard to transfers.

We all know Porto has attained almost legendary status when it comes to buying low and selling high in the transfer market. But this time has past. Sure they sold James and Moutinho for an obscene amount of money just last year, but with their growing reputation in the market (along with the FFP rules coming into effect), those days are coming to an end.

Look at what Benfica has done recently, by way of comparison. If they insisted on full cash payments and never agreed to take players back, they would have missed out on Garay, Rodrigo, and Matic-3 of their best players over the last couple of years. Does anyone here think Porto would ever entertain such an offer and agree to take a player back in return for reducing the cost of a pass? Hell No!

For every Hulk, James, or Moutinho who goes for big money, there was a good ( or great!!!) offer for Rolando, Alvaro Perreira, Kleber, Fucile, etc. that was laughed off, as Porto got greedy and overconfident and always thought a better offer would come in.

Also, look at the recent debacle with Fernando. The Porto of old would never let such a talented player, and so important to the team as well, get into such a predicament. By all accounts, he held their feet to the fire, extracted a king's ransom, and still wants out!!

In fact, I dont think there is a player on the present squad that they value at under 20 mil. Do you really expect me to believe that Defour, for example, or Maicon, is worth that kind of money? The answer is an emphatic no!

If history proves correct, Porto will continue to reject lucrative offers for the like of Jackson Martinez, Mangala, Alex Sandro, etc. Surely a better offer will come-it always does-right? Ask Rolando's agent about that...

For me, the writing was on the wall even last summer. Porto were the odds on favorite to obtain the signature of Bernard-one of Brasil's up and coming stars. However, I think his agent and his father took a real hard look at Porto's recent history with respect to transfers. They likely figured that, especially if Bernard grew into the player everyone expected he would, Porto would hold out for a king's ransom, as they always do, and the player would languish in Portugal while good offer after good offer was declined. So, in the end, he signed with Shaktar, and, by all accounts, has been a revelation. His value has skyrocketed and he will surely make the WC squad.

Portista's pine for Quintero, but I dont see anything special. Porto outbid Benfica for Reyes, but he can hardly even get minutes in a cup match. I just don't see this situation getting any better anytime soon.

Not sure why this isnt discussed more often.. Porto's SAD really needs to wise up and be more realistic. The gravy train is over, and the Chelsea's, Zenit's, Monaco's, and Man City's of the world can only buy so many players, especially with the FFP rules now in effect.
Transfers ?
25 Monday, 24 February 2014 21:57
Ummm its kind of tough to be consistent when every time you blink your eye there selling a star player .. MONEY is to blame the lack of or the Greed has been portugals biggest problem .
Let's clear the air about Domingos
24 Monday, 24 February 2014 21:30
Chris (Canada)
Domingos Paciencia just recently signed on as coach of Kayserspor (?? spelling??) in Turkey. I remember hearing the news and thinking it was bad since it ruled out a good replacement for PF.

As for AVB, the guy is a clown. He's grown such an ego, I don't think he'd ever come back to Porto. And I don't want him back. When will people realize that the TEAM he had that year was the reason for his success?? Yes, he was a decent coach, but the fact that Monaco has paid hundreds of millions to re-build that team, plus the fact that other stars are all at top clubs, means the team was the real deal.

Bring AVB back now and he gets nothing done. Aside from that, there's the morals. Mourinho was there at least a few years and got us multiple titles. AVB was waxing philosophical about how Porto was his dream job and as soon as Chelsea batted an eye he left.

Are Portistas above being cheated on to accept their partner back after multiple infidelities? Come now, we deserve a better coach than Villas Mas.
New Coach
23 Monday, 24 February 2014 20:23
Haven't been reading any replacement rumous, but its inevitable that AVB's name would get mentioned. I honestly wouldn't see that as a bad move for the team. Can anyone really be mad about the guy leaving Porto to accept a position with one of the biggest clubs in the world? Sure he got the boot twice in England, but honestly I don't even think he did that bad with Spurs at least. Last season he led them to their highest ever points total and he finished his career with the highest win percentage of any Spurs manager in history. You can look at the fact they spent nearly 100 million on multiple players, but they also got rid of one of the best players in England for roughly the same sum. It's never easy to integrate a slew of new players.

That being said, he was definitely at fault for certain losses with his insistence on using the high defensive line with slow defenders like Dawson, but I feel like with more time and patience the team would have emerged stronger. Heck even Sherwood has had his share of embarassments like the game this past weekend against Norwich. All that to say, I don't think it would be a terrible decision for Porto to rehire AVB from both Porto and AVB's perspective.

The other question is whether AVB would even accept joining a team on the decline, since another failure would likely put the nail in his managerial coffin.

As for other options, whatever happened to Domingos Paciencia? He resigned at Depor last year but presumably he is also available? I've always liked him and he'd definitely come with less baggage than some other options.
best food in the world
22 Monday, 24 February 2014 19:46
Portugal has the best bacalhau, seafood, leitao and cabrito. now for an outstanding prime rib u come to US, steaks in Portugal are horrible unless u talking about filet mignon and that is good anywhere. or argentina n brasil good picanha.
No one should criticize Porto, just look at their record for last 10 years. OMG they lost 1 game at home in last 5+ years lets declare a day of mourning!!!!
This coming from a sporting fan.
im still counting on benfica to keep their tradition n blow points in last games, alldo someone please check they might have reserved Marques already.
All of a suddern JJ is an hero again, do u guys forget how u were talking about him at beginning of the season???
Really good news is Nelson Oliveira got promoted to the 5th division in france lol, even I played at a better division in Portugal.
21 Monday, 24 February 2014 18:20
I think what andre has said is that over the past two seasons both teams have been equal, and maybe benfica have been better. If benfica had scored a late goal to win when being a point behind, i would have said we got lucky. That goal last year wasnt a culmination of an amazing season by a very good team, it was a moment of greatest by a young scarlet.
Andre is trying to say at the end of the day you can see specific things in specific games that led to porto winning. I understand you saying that porto have been strong, but benfica have earned their place in those decisive games as much as porto. they have never been miles better these past couple years.
Dear PortuGOAL.net....
20 Monday, 24 February 2014 18:08
torpiano, uk
There is one option sadly missing from your POLL, and it is:

Not the case Andre
19 Monday, 24 February 2014 17:27
I don't disagree with you about the ebb and flow of sport and winning cycles. Very true. But I'm not going to allow that Porto won what they have because of good fortune. In order to have good fortune, you have to position yourself in a good spot, otherwise you will not win anything.

What happened the last few seasons is down to talent and work ethic. And let's not pretend Benfica is persecuted by officials because they are favoured as much as Porto in that respect.

Now, as far as using a hypothetical circumstance for your argument ("if the situation were reversed, Portistas would rub salt on the wound"), there's no doubt that is true. But just as I don't pay attention to fools like Brian, (who hails from the greatest land on earth if you didn't know), you shouldn't pay attention to the trolls who gloat.

Our rivals and our battles with them are what make this game great. If Benfica win it this year, I will congratulate them. And if I can change, and you can change..... We can all change! Motivational speech, courtesy of Rocky IV.

On another interesting note, I didn't think Tom and Co. would be able to top last years PortuGOAL book, but based on the drama, this year's edition will be even juicier.

Take it easy Chris!
18 Monday, 24 February 2014 16:13
The fact is that if the situation was in the reverse right now, you could be damn sure that many Porto posters who spring to mind would be rubbing serious salt into Benfiquista wounds here on this site, the way they did at the end of last season and in the early rounds of this new season (the same guys that are nowhere to be seen on this site now that Porto is struggling lol). I think I'm generally quite fair in my comments regarding the biggest rivals of my own team.

I didn't say that "Porto just basically get breaks"...those are your words chap! What I said was Porto got a lot of breaks in the last 2 seasons, last second goals (one of them clearly offside) to beat Benfica and effectively win the Liga two seasons in a row....and on top of that not having any penalties awarded against them both of those entire seasons (I'm not suggesting foul play here, just stating how strange it is not to concede a single penalty in 60 odd matches).

If you don't admit that these were breaks then you're in denial my friend. When we scored 2 last minute goals to beat Gil Vicente earlier in the season, I fully admit that was a serious break for us. And then in the rematch against Gil a weeks back we missed a penalty in the last minute! What goes around, comes around, in the end.

The thing is Chris, you know just as well as I do, that in football (just like in life in general), you can't always have everything go your way. And it's just in these moments when they don't, that we see just how strong anybody or any team is.
Let's stir the pot a bit
17 Monday, 24 February 2014 14:33
Andre, usually I read your posts and find you to be a reasonable and agreeable fellow, but I must say, what a bunch of drivel. Porto basically just "get breaks"? I see. So it's all down to some good fortune and the wind blowing in the right direction... Makes total sense.

Or, maybe, just maybe, Porto, their coach and players worked their behinds off to only lose 1 game in 3 full seasons??? To win the Europa League, as well as the Portuguese league 3 times? Nah, you're right. It's just "the breaks" they got. Honestly, I get the sudden climax Benfica fans are feeling at the moment but please keep this undermining nonsense to a minimum. Apparently all Portistas should be thankful Benfica let them win anything.

For the Portistas on here, some of you make good points, and as easy as it has been to blame Fonseca, it's more than obvious there are things going on behind the scenes. But the man does look defeated. Word on the street is he's offered to resign 3 times now. It can't be fun to have the fans jeer you at home. But the tactics of the team are awful and that IS his responsibility.

For those of you who even toy with the idea of AVB coming back, are your kidding? He had one good year sandwiched by two firings. Let's not forget he had the best Porto squad of the last decade at his disposal, and that squad no longer exists. AVB is not the solution, nor the future. Think of him returning to his "dream job" and then running off again once a foreign team comes calling.

To Jonah, Michael Laudrup seems like a "dream" indeed until you look into his history. He's not Mr. Right either. If you need evidence, I suggest taking the time to read this article, it really puts Mr. Laudrup's attitude/self-assessment in perspective:


I am not sure that keeping Fonseca on at the moment is a great idea, but at the same time, I think it's pointless to get rid of him if the backstage circus remains unchanged. It really is a time of uncertainty, and I think that is what bothers fans the most.

Finally, to the charming fellow who I've never seen post on here before... Brian. Brian, if you have to put the sentence "the greatest country on the earth" and then feel it also necessary to answer this rhetorical question, then you sir, do not live in the greatest country on the earth.

The fact you even feel compelled to add something so idiotic to your identification bar on this website just speaks to an inferiority complex you have. To even think that there could be only one greatest country to live is preposterous. If I wanted the best schools, I would go to Finland. The best career options vs social services, I would go to Denmark. And if I wanted the best food, I'd go to Portugal. So please don't be so naive.

16 Monday, 24 February 2014 14:25
Ok this season we will not win the liga.
the last time this happend, look at what happend the following season (AVB) and porto won everything.
Lets just hold on this season.
Next season i feel it's going to be PORTOS AGAIN!!!

15 Monday, 24 February 2014 14:15
Out of everything that has happened I do feel sorry for VP. You never know what you had till it is gone... He served the club with two titles with an inferior team to Benfica and showed improvement in Europe but was given the boot once his contract ran out for PF who only had one successful season.

Anyways I think Porto should get Paciencia if he's available..

14 Monday, 24 February 2014 13:05
Brian/The Greatest Country on Earth...USA
I am truly amazed that PDC allowed a ref to get away with red carding Managala late in the match and award a penalty to Estoril at the Dragao. Has PDC run out of prostitutes? Can someone check on that poor ref's family please? I fear for their lives.
PDC at fault in my book
13 Monday, 24 February 2014 12:17
I got a long one here...

People are quick to blame Fonseca but it's PDC that makes the call on selling key players and buying their replacements. While Porto has been successful at doing this year after year it was only a matter of time when they would lose key players and get their new talent acquisition wrong. Throw in the newer trend of hiring inexperienced managers and a complete collapse was bound to happen.

Some people still defend their results. To put into perspective how bad its been. Benfica in jornada 6 were 5 points behind Porto, if they win today they will be 7 points ahead of Porto. In 14 matches Porto has dropped 12 points in comparison to Benfica. Keep in mind that Benfica has had 2 draws within that period (dropping 4 more points).

With Benfica finding their flow and having two of their top players return to the squad (Cardozo/Salvio), it will be hard to see them dropping a crazy amount of points meaning Porto will likely need another perfect remainder of the season if they have any hope of catching up. Throw in that Sporting just has one tournament to focus, basically means they should continue to stay competitive.

Something does need to change however do they risk firing their manager and dealing with the resulting additional instability when Estoril are only 6 points behind the last CL spot. No one thought Pacos could do it last season, if Porto do make some changes it could destabilize things a little more and open that opportunity for Estoril.

I wouldn't count Porto out but I can't recall a time that club looked so terrible and in my book they seem to only be getting worse.
12 Monday, 24 February 2014 12:09
John/ NYC
E uma tristeza ver o nosso PORTO a cair dia a dia. Fonseca rua!!! o guarda redes rua!!!! its time for a change.
Replacement for Fonseca
11 Monday, 24 February 2014 11:59
I'd love to see Michael Laudrup at Porto, he can take us places.
Some thoughts
10 Monday, 24 February 2014 10:56
Well it seems Porto are in somewhat of a free fall at the moment. They have to find their feet quickly because they have both Guimaraes and Sporting away in the coming weeks, and still have to visit Braga and Nacional later in the season. So very testing times indeed for the club.

Everyone's blaming Fonseca, and while I thought it was a gamble hiring such an inexperienced coach, I also think it's not all his fault and there are 2 other factors which are just as important. First I always knew that Moutinho and James wouldn't be adequately replaced with the players Porto bought this summer. Moutinho was the heartbeat of the team, one of the very best CMs in the world. While James was the creative spark who really gave them something different.

Secondly, the breaks seem to be evening out for Porto this year. In football, like in life in general, the breaks eventually tend to even out. For the last 2 seasons Porto got all the breaks in winning both titles. In 2012, a last minute offside goal at the Luz virtually won them the title, while again last year a last second wonder goal won them the Liga.

Want more evidence of the breaks? How about not a single penalty awarded against Porto in both those seasons (quite a few awarded against them this season)! Both of those seasons Benfica had the better team and the fact that they did so much better in Europe both years was evidence. So perhaps the breaks that Porto have had recently are being paid for this season. We shall see, still some way to go, but they better pull up their socks quick because their fixtures are not getting any easier.
Paulo Fonseca
9 Monday, 24 February 2014 05:43
If losing every game for the rest of the season means that PF is fired then so be it. This Porto side has talent.There is the ability and potential to more than compete with Sporting and Benfica as well as in Europe, but Paulo Fonseca's has literally ended all hopes of silverware; even a taca win wouldn't suffice. It's over half way through the season and he is trying to find a cohesive midfield unit! He is starting players who have proven that they do not have the capacity to play in their given role, e.g. Josue, and yet he persists.
This season has been an utter waste. It's been called a transitionary period, it'll take time. That's the biggest BS I've ever heard. What are we to gain from this season? No young starlet has emerged, it has only stagnated the growth of potential stars and revenue in Quintero, Kelvin and Iturbe. Next season it will only get worse. Mangala, Fernando, Jackson and Defour are all in doubt of leaving. Where does that leave the team? I'm one for building a formidable outfit long-term, but this season was Porto basically saying: "We've gotten away with it before, why not again?"
Marco Silva seems like an exciting prospect. Although the same was said about Fonseca, this guy's proven he has tenacity and real grit. Taking a promoted club to Europe, losing some of your key player mid-season as well as during and still consistently winning games and doing so in style says a lot about him. He comes across as a bit wet behind the ears but that never die trying attitude is something I'd like to see in the dressing room. At the same time, an experienced and level-headed coach is another option, but look at Ferreira.
This season can be salvaged, somewhat. Get rid of Fonseca, start afresh and build towards next season like the pre-AVB side. Start your pre-season now. Take a page out of the Sporting book. I would love to see Toze, Kelvin and Ricardo play, give Ghilas more game, try Reyes out, he's a definite contender next season.
Changing Times
8 Monday, 24 February 2014 03:14
Z / Canada
I really think things are changing in Portuguese football

FC Porto's era of dominance is coming to a close, PDC is getting old and we have witnessed the decline of Porto the last couple seasons

next year probably mangala, fernando, jackson will be on the way out

Porto will need huge signings to mount a title challenge next season IMO, Benfica has the financial power and depth, Sporting for the first time in a very long time actually has a proper president running the club and will keep improving and can rely on a seemingly endless supply of young talent from the academy.

Benfica looks like they will win the league this season, and probably next as well IMO. but I beleive Sporting is the future of Portuguese football with its academy and visionary leadership of BDC- they are planting the seeds for sustainable success in the near future.
Not fonsecas fault.
7 Monday, 24 February 2014 02:09
I dont see why people are blaming paulo for everything. Over the past few years of selling great players and changing coaches, its a miracle its lasted this long. Yes benfica sell many players but they have depth that porto dont, and a coach that has been there 4 years and has been given power to change things. Porto need stability throughout, changing coaches constantly will not help.
@ Golden/Porto
6 Monday, 24 February 2014 01:31
Marco Silva is a big Benfiquista. I don't expect him to come especially after all he's done for Estoril. AVB can go jump in the ocean. I wouldn't want him back if it was meant possible relegation.

VP would be welcome back for me but I doubt he returns. He seems to be hating his time at All Ahli but to come back so soon would be crazy on his career trajectory.

I too would like Marco Silva to come in, but I honestly believe Porto will do some kind of mind trick and actually bring in someone totally unexpected.

Don't be surprised if they brought Nuno Espirito Santo, Joao de Deus or Pedro Emanuel in.
Going out on a limb here...
5 Monday, 24 February 2014 01:05
But didn't Jesualdo Ferreira just resign?
PDC messed up and now it's too late
4 Monday, 24 February 2014 00:41
i've been saying since october/november that the winter break was the proper tie to let Fonseca go. it was obvious even when Porto were winning early in the season that he didn't have what it takes. a coaching change during the winter break could have saved the season, but here we are in a giant hole because PDC refused to pull the trigger.

AVB was available at the time. even if he didn't want to come back or his asking wage was too high, i would rather some one else take over for the remainder of the season. it's pathetic how bad this guy is. the players have zero guidance. they do the same thing in the final 3rd EVERY time and it never works yet he changes nothing.
Potential Replacements
3 Sunday, 23 February 2014 22:48
Marco Silva is the obvious replacement as of now. If not, I expect a temporary solution (one of the assistants) until the summer only to bring back either AVB or Vitor Pereira.
good game
2 Sunday, 23 February 2014 22:05
Porto didn't play bad, was impressed with estoril defense n goal keeper.
The still in good place for 3rd best in the league. they can try qualifying for champions.
fonseca should be out of there.
This also makes sporting win yesterday huge, to make it a close campeonato even do porto is out of it lol
1 Sunday, 23 February 2014 21:57
I am surprised PF wasn't let go after the Champions League debacle. Maybe PDC is getting soft, I don't know. Anyways, I never want to see anyone lose their job, but not only is it inevitable, in my opinion, it's been long overdue. Question is, who will replace him, and if it is too late to make a move and try to salvage the season?

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