Porto takes care of Athletic Bilbao with 3-1 win in Champions League
PORTO, Portugal (AP) — Substitute Ricardo Quaresma scored in the 75th minute to help FC Porto hold onto top spot in Group H with a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The Portugal winger's goal, darting in from the left and producing a low drive that Gorka Iraizoz couldn't hold, put the brakes on the visitor's second-half recovery after Guillermo Fernandez leveled the score in the 58th.
Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera scored just before halftime to seal the home team's first-half dominance.
The Portuguese club moved to seven points in the group, two ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk with three games to play. Shakhtar thrashed BATE Borisov 7-0 in the other group match.
BATE has three points and Athletic, winless in its last 10 games and making its worst ever start to a Spanish league season, has one.
Porto made five changes from its weekend loss in Portuguese Cup play, with Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui risking more protests from fans dismayed by his constant team changes.
But the overhaul paid off as Athletic was unable to hold possession against a rampant Porto attack.
Colombian strikers Cristian Tello and Jackson Martinez were the most obvious offenders as Porto squandered a long series of chances, while Mikel San Jose unexpectedly hit the woodwork with a low drive from outside area in the 26th.
Herrera's goal was a long time coming but seemed to set up the two-time European champion for another onslaught after the break.
Things went wrong for Porto when Herrera's botched pass let in Athletic for the equalizer as Fernandez beat three defenders for his first tournament goal.
Quaresma scored the winner five minutes after joining the game.