Striker Vincent Aboubakar pummel two first-half goals to spearhead Porto’s bounteous 5-2 win over Monaco at the Dragao Stadium on Wednesday and cachet their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The prolific Cameroonian striker took his season’s tally in all competitions to 17 in a one-sided game in which both teams were reduced to 10 men after Felipe and Rachid Ghezzal of Porto and Monaco respectively were sent off for an undignified 38th-minute scuffle.
Knowing a win would contract them second place in Group G, Porto’s nerves were quickly settled when Aboubakar fasten on to Yacine Brahimi’s through ball after nine minutes.
The powerful 25-year-old striker was in magnificent form, pouncing again in the 33rd minute when he cut in from the left side of the box and shot under Diego Benaglio for his 5th goal of the Champions League campaign.
Kamil Glik, Monaco captain, had a consolation goal for his team as he pulled one back with a 61st-minute penalty, given sharply for a handball from Ivan Marcano, but Porto’s Brazilian fullback Alex Telles thundered home a 25-metre shot four minutes later.
Monaco, who had lost the 2004 final to the same Portuguese opponents, were reminded of that 3-0 defeat when Aboubakar turned provider, playing in Brahimi for a third just before halftime.
Striker, Falcao nodded in a 78th-minute consolation against his old club before Tiquinho Soares struck again with another header for the home side with just two minutes remaining.
The victory took Porto to 10 points behind group winners Besiktas, who moved on to 14 after their 2-1 win at RB Leipzig ensured the German newcomers missed out in third place on seven points.
For Monaco, though, the conclusive defeat only demonstrated how far they have fallen since their exciting young side was broken up after reaching the semi-finals last season.
For the inventive Falcao, still Monaco’s brightest spark in a dismal season, it was a bittersweet return to the Dragao, where he won six trophies with Porto.
“For me, it was a huge pleasure to come here and play again. It’s like my home and I won a lot of trophies here,” the Colombian told UEFA.com.
“Now we have to focus on the league and the two domestic cups. It’s sad not to be continuing in the Champions League but that’s football.
“Our team changed a lot in the summer and we need time to get stronger. We are capable of finishing second in the league in order to return to this competition.”