Porto 5-1 Spartak Moscow: Falcao hat-trick demolishes Spartak in European thriller

Porto put a firm foot in the Europa League semi-finals to bring a brilliant week which sure them crowned Portuguese Champions to a terrific end.
Porto were able to establish a dominant lead ahead of the return leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Spartak Moscow continuing the theme of high-scoring European nights.

They had to wait until the 36th minute for their opening goal when Alvaro Pereira’s cross reached Falcao at the far post who expertly converted his diving header.

Valera added to the Dragões’ opening goal with a ferocious half-volley which had the ‘keeper comprehensively beaten.

Porto turned two into three moments later when Maicon flicked a corner towards goal which squeezed between Andrey Dikon’s legs gifting Porto their third of the night.

Spartak Moscow responded in emphatic fashion when Kirill Kombarov smashed a shot past Helton to give the Russians an away goal.

Falcao was able to score a late goal to re-store Porto’s three goal lead with a simple finish, before completing his hat-trick in injury time to kill the tie off.

Spartak Moscow started brightly, and within thirty seconds of the first whistle Wellington had forced an effort at goal but could only find the side-netting.

The Russian were then gifted a wonderful chance when Rolando’s lethargic pass was picked up by Welliton who ran directly towards Helton’s goal but could only to poke the ball at the onrushing ‘keeper.

Porto managed to add quality and pace to their passing with Varela and Alvaro Pereira combining well down the left-flank. The latter was able to send in a beautiful cross which reached Falcao at the far post who flung himself managing to direct his header beyond Dikan to give his side the lead.

The home-side looked to build on Falcao’s goal late in the first half when they re-emerged for the second half with Hulk central to their play. The Brazilian darted inside the Spartak penalty area before over running the ball allowing Marcos Rojo to get a block in.

Hulk picked himself up to hit a free-kick he had won and he struck it brilliantly as it crashed against the under-side of the bar only for Dikan to claw the rebound away.

The Dragões doubled their lead through Valera’s thunderous effort. Porto had created a period of sustained pressure of the Spartak goal and it finally took its toll when Falcao’s knockdown were comprehensively hammered home by Valera.

Spartak came close to halving the deficit when Welliton got in behind the Porto defence but he wasted the chance, and seconds latter Porto added their third. Maicon’s flicked a corner ball towards goal and somehow it found its way past Dikan.

The Russians through responded in breath-taking fashion as they raced into the Porto halve. Kirill Kombarov had snuck forward undetected by the home-side’s defence as he leathered a shot beyond Helton getting his side an all important away goal.

Alex tested Helton’s goalkeeping with a strike hit with real venom but the Brazilian stood strong and was able to palm the ball away.

Hulk, denied a goal by the woodwork earlier on, and came close again after passing Makeev with ease only to drill his effort into the side-netting when he should have scored his side’s fourth.

Falcao succeeded where the Brazilian could not when he slid in to meet substitute Rodriquez’s to finish with aplomb to give the home-side a 4-1 lead to take into the second leg.

Porto added a fifth late in injury time, with Falcao heading home to secure his second hat-trick of the competition.

The Portuguese side will head into next week’s return leg full of confidence after demolishing Spartak Moscow 5-1, giving the Russian’s little chance of recovery.

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