Jackson Martinez strike helps Porto reach last 16
A second-half Jackson Martinez strike set Porto on their way to a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao to secure a place in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, while the hopes of the Basque side were extinguished.
Bilbao: A second-half Jackson Martinez strike set Porto on their way to a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao to secure a place in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, while the hopes of the Basque side were extinguished.
Martinez, who missed a penalty at the end of the first half, was less forgiving after the break and bundled the ball home from close range on 56 minutes.
Yacine Brahimi wrapped up the points with a simple goal with 17 minutes remaining when Athletic keeper Gorka Iraizoz failed to control a simple back pass.
Porto lead Group H with 10 points from four games while Shakhtar Donetsk, who beat BATE Borisov 5-0 are two points behind.
Athletic qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time in 16 years, but a sorry run of results means they have just one point and are now eliminated.
"It was a difficult game for us and we tried our best but it wasn`t possible," Bilbao striker Guillermo Fernandez told reporters.
"We couldn`t turn the game around and it is a blow for us.
"It was hard as we were pressed back and could not create very much. We did more in the second half but it did not work out."
Athletic were missing the injured Aritz Aduriz and Iker Muniain was only fit to start as a substitute, while the quality of Porto’s attack meant that they could afford to leave Ricardo Quaresma on the bench.
Martinez was inches away from giving them the lead early on when he nipped in at the near post to meet a Danilo cross and shot just wide.
A Maicon free kick from distance was turned away by Iraizoz and from the resulting corner Martinez headed the wrong side of the post.
Porto had a golden chance to go ahead three minutes before the break when Mikel Balenziaga upended Danilo in the box but Martinez failed to find the back of the net with his spot kick.
After the restart Brahimi made a good run down the left and laid the ball on a plate for Martinez to score from two metres out.
An embarrassing mistake then followed when Iraizoz gave the ball to Brahimi to score, summing up a disappointing night for Bilbao.