PORTO, PORTUGAL (REUTERS) – FC Porto joined Manchester City in advancing to the next phase of the Champions League after the two played out a goalless draw in their Group C clash on Tuesday (Dec 1).
The point, combined with defeat for Olympiakos in France, was enough to ensure Porto finished second while City, who had already qualified last week, are assured of top place.
But Pep Guardiola’s team surrendered their 100 per cent record in the group despite dominating their hosts as they set up a myriad of chances but proved unable to make the breakthrough.
With one round left to play, City are on 13 points, three more than Porto – with both well clear of Olympiakos and Olympique Marseille, who have three points each.
City pinned Porto back for most of the contest at the Estadio do Dragao and looked to have eventually broken through when substitute Gabriel Jesus found the net in the 80th minute, only for VAR to determine Joao Cancelo had been offside in the build-up.
Raheem Sterling had two efforts cleared off the line – one by his own team mate – while Porto goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin made several sharp stops in an impressive display.
Sterling got a goalward touch to the ball at the near post in the 69th minute and as it sped across the goal mouth, Ferran Torres stretched in to steer it over the line but bizarrely succeeded only in hooking it clear of the goal.
In the first half, Sterling had cut in from the flank and blasted towards goal but the effort was cleared off the Porto line by Zaidu Sanussi.
The City skipper’s best opportunity, however, came just before the hour mark when Phil Foden’s floated pass put the pacey England star away on goal, only to see him smothered by the on-rushing Marchesin in a fine stop.
The ball rebounded off the goalkeeper and fell for the supporting Torres but the back spin caught him out and he was unable to tuck away the opportunity.
City will finish their campaign at home to Marseille next week while Porto travel to Olympiakos in another dead rubber.