Porto lived up to their billing as favourites against Sevilla with a deserved 1-0 win in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg.
Coach Luis Castro said in the build-up that Porto's status as favourites in almost every game they play has hampered them this season - the reigning Primeira Liga champions sit third in their domestic division, 15 points adrift of leaders Benfica - but they put in a commanding display at Estadio do Dragao on Thursday.
After dominating the early stages, Porto finally took the lead just after the half-hour mark as captain Eliaquim Mangala powered a diving header in from an audacious Ricardo Quaresma cross.
Castro's side almost went into the break with a two-goal lead, but Steven Defour's effort from distance was nudged on to the post by former Porto keeper Beto to keep Sevilla in the game.
The away side should have levelled late on as Kevin Gameiro skewed wide from close range, and although Porto will be without Fernando following his late dismissal for a second bookable offence, they take a narrow advantage to Seville for next week's second leg.
With Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Nacional typifying Porto's faltering domestic campaign, Sevilla - who had won six league games in a row before Saturday's 1-0 loss at Celta Vigo - arrived in Portugal looking to compound their misery in the Europa League.
The hosts enjoyed an encouraging start, however, keeping Sevilla camped in their own penalty area for long periods, but the Spaniards' defence stood firm despite a flurry of Porto corners.
Unai Emery's team weathered the storm and almost broke the deadlock with their first chance in the 27th minute as Vicente Iborra flicked on Ivan Rakitic's left-wing free-kick, only for home keeper Fabiano to block the header.
The visitors were made to rue that miss four minutes later, though.
Quaresma - who scored in Porto’s 3-2 aggregate win over Napoli in the last round - delivered a brilliant cross with the outside of his right foot and Mangala directed it into the goal with a ferocious diving header.
Beto did well to deny the hosts a second in the 45th minute, as he acrobatically tipped Defour's long-range effort on to his left post.
Sevilla appeared more willing to venture forward in the second half and they nearly capitalised on an error by Mangala in the 49th minute, as Coke charged down his clearance before seeing a shot deflected wide from an acute angle.
Goalscoring chances were more infrequent than the first half, but Porto striker Jackson Martinez did go close with just over an hour gone with a half-volley that flashed over the bar from close range.
And with 15 minutes to go, Sevilla substitute Gameiro missed a massive chance to equalise as he pounced on a rebound, only to scuff his effort and miss the target.
Porto's position was put in jeopardy in the 87th minute as Fernando picked up his second yellow card for a foul on Gameiro, but Quaresma almost extended their lead in injury time as he struck a half-volley onto the post after his initial free-kick had been blocked by the wall.
|Semedo, Deulofeu left out of Barcelona trip to Girona|
|Conte urges Morata to show Costa aggression|
|Guardiola hopes Aguero breaks City record at home|
|Lille 0 Monaco 4: Falcao hits double as champions romp to win|
|Bayern Munich 2 Wolfsburg 2: Ulreich howler sparks shock comeback|
|De Biasi takes charge of Deportivo Alaves|
|Srna vows to clear ´name and reputation´ following doping claims|
|Neymar to miss PSG´s Montpellier clash|
|Costa can win many Atletico trophies, says ex-Chelsea striker Shevchenko|
|From Maradona to Messi – Barcelona celebrate 60 years at Camp Nou|
|Shakespeare remaining upbeat over Silva saga|
|Alex Sandro replaces Marcelo in Brazil squad|
|Returning Costa scared of Atletico fitness plans|
|Benevento captain Lucioni fails doping test|
|Stoke could have one fit centre-back for Chelsea game - Hughes|
|Valverde dismisses Real Madrid ´crisis´ talk|
|Bakayoko fit after car accident and Hazard ready to start, says Chelsea boss Conte|
|Rummenigge calls for transfer window to close on July 31 across Europe|
|Nigel Pearson appointed by Belgian side OH Leuven|
|UEFA inspector to examine disrupted clash between Arsenal and Cologne|
|Mourinho misses out as Allegri, Conte and Zidane battle for Best FIFA Coach of the Year|
|Conte encouraged by Musonda and Kenedy progress|
|Costa lands in Madrid ahead of Atletico return|
|Guardiola endorses Mourinho´s EFL Cup scepticism|
|Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo headline FIFA Best shortlist|
|Conte thanks Costa after Chelsea exit agreed|
|Zidane will not ´go crazy´ despite Real Madrid slump|
|Aubameyang is very happy here, Bosz assures Dortmund fans|
|Madrid confirm Marcelo hamstring tear|
|I hope he doesn´t score! - Zizou wary of Enzo threat|
|Major players help teams grow - Simeone happy with selection headaches after Costa move|
|Allegri has faith in misfiring Higuain ahead of Turin derby|
|PSG must prove big-club credentials after spending spree - Draxler|
|Not preventing Neymar´s Barca departure a ´bad decision´ - Rakitic|
|Shanghai Shenhua slam ´misleading´ French media over Tevez interview|
|There´s no bitterness – Costa ´cool´ with Conte as Atleti return nears|
|Copa Libertadores Review: River put eight past Wilstermann, Lanus through|
|Ronaldo: I´ll get fit if Real Madrid need me|
|Man United and City have put pressure on Liverpool – Klopp|
|Aubameyang: China talks were a disaster|
|Dembele returns to Barcelona after hamstring surgery|
|EFL set to follow Premier League in transfer window change|
|Howedes a doubt for Juve derby clash|
|It will go well for Dembele at Barca - Aubameyang|
|Abraham denies talk of switch to Nigeria|
|Defensive worries for bullish Klopp as Liverpool eye Leicester revenge|
|Aubameyang: I no longer dream of Real Madrid|
|52 passes, 11 players, one goal, no West Brom touches - Manchester City´s Guardiola masterclass exam|
|Gundogan set for swift Manchester City return|
|Costa´s Atletico return: Griezmann primed to shine alongside Atleti´s prodigal son|
|Time to move on from controversial chant, says Lukaku|
|Costa´s Atletico return: Torres, Aguero, Falcao and Griezmann and the Rojiblancos´ history of fine f|
|Costa´s Atletico return: Bonucci v Allegri, Beckham v Ferguson and more famous player-manager bust-u|
|Kane will stay a long time, regardless of winning trophies - Pochettino|
|I´ll decide who is first choice - Emery putting foot down over Cavani-Neymar penalty spat|
|Costa´s Atletico return: Henry, Tevez, Rooney and other players who went back|
|No celebrations for Barry unless West Brom take something from Arsenal|
|Benzema wants to retire at Real Madrid|
|Atletico Madrid agree Costa deal with Chelsea|
|Only Messi´s dad has signed the contract - Benedito disputes Bartomeu claim|
|Klopp backs Oxlade-Chamberlain and Liverpool to bounce back|
|China won´t compete even in 50 years - Tevez blasts level of Chinese football|
|Record revenues over £580m for Manchester United|
|Ancelotti defends Bayern fitness coach after Neuer injury|
|Burnley sign Lindegaard following Heaton injury|
|Injured Liverpool star Lallana steps up training|
|Juventus can´t stop Dybala leaving, admits Marotta|
|Mertens shrugs off Maradona comparisons after Napoli wondergoal|
|Ramos alarmed by Real Madrid´s ´f****** bad start´ in LaLiga|
|Wenger denies punishing Sanchez with lack of playing time|
|Athletic´s Yeray overcomes cancer for a second time|
|Wenger wanted Barry at Arsenal before Manchester City move|
|Mourinho: Scrapping EFL Cup could help English clubs in Europe|
|Neymar left Barcelona because of Messi – Mathieu|
|Dembele drops hint of early Barcelona return|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Nine-man Barcelona reach semis, Gremio also advance|
|Neville: Rashford as good as Mbappe and Dembele|
|MLS Review: Montreal win derby, Atlanta put four past Galaxy|
|Madrid can overturn deficit as captain Ramos remains calm|
|Neymar wouldn´t have treated Messi like he did Cavani – Forlan|
|Zidane not worried after Madrid lose ground on Barca|
|Casemiro calls for Madrid calm after shock Betis loss|
|Sane sends message to Guardiola as Manchester City shake off West Brom|
|Keep calm and carry on – Allegri backs Higuain to rediscover scoring touch|
|Bosz proud of table-topping Dortmund after Hamburg triumph|
|Montella points to schedule after uninspired Milan win|
|Conte confirms Luiz will be fit to face Atletico|
|Manchester City boss Guardiola hopeful Gundogan injury not serious|
|Real Madrid 0 Real Betis 1: Ronaldo´s return ruined as Sanabria stuns LaLiga champions|
|Wilshere is ready for the league - Wenger|