Porto coast past BATE Borisov in Champions League clash

Hector Herrera helped ease Porto into pole position to claim top spot in Champions League Group H with a 3-0 victory over BATE Borisov.

Herrera fired the visitors ahead after 56 minutes at the Borisov Arena and set up captain Jackson Martinez and then substitute Cristian Tello to secure a fourth victory in five attempts and leave the Portuguese side on 13 points with just one game to play.

In the process, Porto ensured final-day opponents Shakhtar Donetsk will join them in the knockout stage ahead of their home clash with Athletic Bilbao.

BATE, who had conceded 19 goals in their opening four games, started at a high tempo in freezing temperatures in Belarus and made life intensely difficult for the visitors’ defense as they tigerishly closed down space.

Porto gradually worked their way into the game, although they rarely looked like breaking through a home rearguard determined not to suffer a repeat of the 7-0 drubbing to which they were subjected by Shakhtar in their last home fixture in the competition.

HEAR US OUT

Borisov midfielder Aleksandr Karnitski blazed an ambitious 40-yard free-kick well wide as the half-hour mark approached and Evgeni Yablonksi missed the target from Mikhail Gordeychuk’s 38th-minute cross, but Yacine Brahimi curled a free-kick wide at the other end with two minutes of the half remaining.

Porto midfielder Ricardo Quaresma dragged a 51st-minute shot harmlessly wide as the visitors returned in determined style, although yet to muster an effort on target.

However, they remedied that within five minutes when Casemiro dispossessed Karnitski and fed Herrera, who unleashed a dipping right-foot shot which flew across keeper Sergei Chernik and inside the far post.

Herrera turned provider nine minutes later to allow Martinez to beat the keeper with a neat left-foot finish, and then repeated the feat in the final minute as Tello completed the scoring.