Week two of the UEFA Champions league continued also in Group G as Leicester faced Porto. The Foxes were making a historic Champions league debut in front of their fans and there was no doubt that they would come out motivated to continue their great performance in the most important club competition, especially after a 3:0 away win against Club Brugge in the first round.
Porto, on the other side wanted to make things right after their first round disappointing performance against the Danish team FC Copenhagen, in which they managed to win only one point (1:1).
Both teams came out carefully, testing the opponents’ strategy, while at the same time a lot nervousness on both sides was noticeable. The first 20 minutes of the match went by in a slow rhythm. After a great solo run, Riyad Mahrez centered a pass from the right wing and connected with Islam Slimani who scored with a lovely header. Slimani, who previously played for Sporting CP in Portugal, is not a stranger for scoring goals against Porto. Namely, the Algerian has scored 6 times against Porto, while playing for Sporting. This was his 7th goal of his career against Porto.
Although it seemed that Porto started the game with a lot of self-confidence, after Slimanis goal, that self-confidence simply disappeared, as Leicester took over the control of the game. However, Porto slowed down Leicester’s attacks with fouls, not allowing the Foxes to create more scoring chances.
The only notable situation for Porto came in the 35th minute as Miguel Layun executed the free kick perfectly from a distance of 25 meters, but the ball flew inches outside the left post.
If we take away the goal by Slimani in the 25th minute and the free kick by Layun in the 35th minute, nothing spectacular has happened in the first half, so both teams went to the locker room with the score showing 1:0 for the home side.
The second half started in the same manner as the first half finished, as Leicester controlled the ball more and tried to surprise the opponent with some quick attacks through Slimani, Mahrez and Vardy. This trio was creating some serious troubles for the away team, as they combined for most of the Foxes attacks.
Mahrez had a nice look towards the goal in the 58th minute but his shot from just outside the box was perfectly denied by Iker Casillas, who directed the ball towards the corner.
Porto’s coach Santo Espirito knew that his team needs to open up and create more attacks if he wants to change the result, so he replaced Andre with Hector Herrera, who immediately created some space in offense and from that moment Porto started playing much better. In the 76th minute, Herrera rebounded the ball from a corner and directed a powerful strike from the edge of the box, but Kasper Schmeichel reacted with a wonderful save and denied the ball to the corner.
Porto came very close to equalizing in the 84th minute. Otavinho served a nice cross from the left wing but Schmeichel reacted poorly, missing the ball, which was deflected towards Jesus Manuel Corona, who managed to direct the ball towards an open goal but unfortunately for Porto, the ball hit the right post and deflected towards the field. Porto continued their attacks and created some nice scoring opportunities but failed to equalize the score and the game ended with a 1:0 win by the home side.
The home fans can be more than happy with the slim win of their team, although it remains unclear why Claudio Ranieri has decided to pull back to their side of the pitch in the second half, allowing Porto to take over the game and create more scoring opportunities. However, it was not the most inspiring of performances, although both teams had their moments and the fans were able to see some nice plays.
The Foxes have recorded their second win of their first ever Champions League appearance and lead the group G with 6 points, while FC Copenhagen is now taking the 2nd place after a 4-0 win against Club Brugge at home. On the other side Porto has continued to struggle, winning only 1 point after two rounds, taking the third place of the group, with Club Brugge at the bottom with 0 points.