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.
|Porto confirm Atletico move for Martinez|
|Lloyd: Repetition key netting penalty|
|Sheffield Wednesday job a ´dream´ for Carvalhal|
|´We played a complete game´ - Messi|
|Diaz upbeat despite heavy Copa loss to Argentina|
|Martino lauds Messi for selfless performance|
|Viviani makes surprise Verona switch|
|Estonian team wins cup match 31-0|
|No meeting with Arsenal has occurred - Vidal´s agent|
|United States 2 Germany 0: Ellis´ team reach World Cup final|
|Argentina 6 Paraguay 1: Messi leads Martino´s men to Copa final|
|UEFA Europa League Review: FK Zeljeznicar and FC Dacia Chisinau open with wins|
|UEFA Champions League Review: FC Pyunik make winning start|
|Sweden U21 0 Portugal U21 0 (aet, 4-3 on penalties): Carlgren the hero as Swedes claim Euro glory|
|Frankfurt capture Castaignos|
|Bastia face relegation over debt|
|Bahlouli makes Monaco switch|
|Pearson sacked by Leicester|
|Rekik set for Marseille switch|
|Ranocchia and Carrizo sign new Inter deals|
|Crespo handed Modena role|
|Cech reveals work permit prevented past Arsenal move|
|Ivory Coast cut coaching shortlist down to five|
|McCarthy satisfied with Mings sale|
|Heaton commits to Burnley|
|Bowyer: Rhodes and Gestede will not come cheap|
|Burton and Day depart West Brom|
|Mendilibar makes Eibar return|
|Milan agree to terminate Muntari contract|
|Copa final a dream come true for Sampaoli|
|CSKA Sofia demoted due to financial crisis|
|Wolfsburg warn off De Bruyne suitors|
|Kone: I want to prove I can cut it at Everton|
|West Ham v Lusitans: Bilic set for first game in charge|
|Millennium Stadium to host 2017 UEFA Champions League final|
|Ronaldo a ´possibility´ for Portugal´s Olympics squad|
|Liverpool should get rid of Sterling - Grobbelaar|
|Miranda arrives for Inter medical|
|Arsenal can challenge the best - Cech|
|Real star Bale can be better than Ronaldo, says Keegan|
|UEFA approves changes to FFP rules|
|Honduras v Mexico: Moreno´s injury may force Mexican rethink pre-Gold Cup|
|Hiddink was the wrong man for Netherlands - De Boer|
|Vargas: I was scoring with every shot at training|
|Zambrano red rocked Peru - Gareca|
|Paraguay to change tack against Argentina|
|Sampaoli thrilled with substitutes´ influence, applauds Peru|
|Martino rues Copa America date with former side Paraguay|
|Former Birmingham City player Thwaites among Tunisia victims|
|Chile 2 Peru 1: Zambrano´s red card helps hosts into Copa final|
|Thiago Silva: ´I didn´t even know the ball had hit my hand´|
|Ronaldinho set to sign for Antalyaspor|
|Jara ban reduced on appeal by one match|
|Hiddink leaves Netherlands post|
|Cresswell pens new five-year deal at West Ham|
|Koeman: No serious United bid for Schneiderlin|
|Barbados eliminated from World Cup qualifying after fielding ineligible player|
|Former Catania president admits buying matches|
|Jones agrees Manchester United deal|
|Argentina v Paraguay: Valdez hoping not to need another comeback|
|Milan seal Bertolacci signing|
|Cech grateful to Abramovich and Chelsea fans|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Brotherly pride at stake as B36 play TNS|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Tommasi set to aid La Fiorita qualifying bid|
|Cech leaves Chelsea to join Arsenal|
|Paulinho ends Spurs frustration with Guangzhou move|
|Sampdoria confirm Eto´o exit amid Antalyaspor talk|
|Garcia departs Espanyol ahead of expected Qatar move|
|Watford to delay Doyley decision|
|Schlupp agrees new Leicester deal|
|Schweinsteiger hints at Bayern stay amid United links|
|Bertolacci thrilled ahead of Milan move|
|Langerak leaves Dortmund for Stuttgart|
|Muniain extends Athletic contract|
|Youngsters to get chance on US tour - Van Gaal|
|La Liga chief hits out at Real Madrid over TV rights opposition|
|Villa confirm Wilkins as assistant manager|
|Dicks joins West Ham coaching staff|
|Heldt enters to jeers, exits to cheers|
|Paraguay pride has grown at Copa America - Aguilar|
|Van Gaal tight-lipped on De Gea|
|Bacca confirms Milan agreement|
|Weight of expectation on hosts Chile to benefit Peru - Gareca|
|MLS Review: Timbers thump Sounders thanks to Adi´s double|
|Dzeko ´would run to Roma´ - Pjanic|
|Peru won´t sit back - Sampaoli|
|Zenga: Cassano, Balotelli will not be joining Sampdoria|
|Victory to start A-League defence away to Adelaide|
|I want to play MLS ´at the peak of my career´ - Johannsson|
|Allegri: I like Isco and Oscar|