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.
|Stoke close to Stafylidis signing|
|Brisbane Roar 3 Perth Glory 2: Holman settles five-goal thriller|
|Gourvennec leaves Bordeaux after seventh defeat in eight games|
|Pique agrees new long-term Barcelona contract|
|Wenger rules out Ozil sale as talks continue over Wilshere deal|
|Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal close, says Wenger|
|Meunier blasts ´disgraceful´ PSG fans after Neymar boos|
|Pique demands better at Camp Nou after Espanyol ´insults´|
|Schweinsteiger re-signs with Chicago Fire for 2018|
|Juve trying everything to sign Can, says Marotta|
|Rooney convinced me to join Everton – Walcott|
|Simeone: Sevilla deserved their win|
|Conte calls for VAR improvements|
|Neymar not angered by PSG whistles - Silva|
|FA Cup Review: Wigan dump Bournemouth out, nine-man Chelsea scrape through|
|Valverde rues Barca profligacy in Espanyol defeat|
|Chelsea 1 Norwich City 1 (aet, 5-3 pens): Hazard and Caballero seal Blues progression|
|No generosity from Neymar as Cavani waits to make PSG history|
|Neymar sets Ligue 1 landmark with staggering individual display|
|Espanyol 1 Barcelona 0: Melendo ends unbeaten run|
|Paris Saint-Germain 8 Dijon 0: Neymar hits four as Cavani levels Ibrahimovic record|
|Atletico fan in ´serious condition´ after being stabbed before Sevilla game|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Sevilla 2: Montella´s men stage dramatic first-leg comeback|
|Lukaku will score 30 goals for Man Utd this season, predicts Yorke|
|Liverpool loan Grujic to Cardiff|
|Mbappe: More to come from Neymar & Cavani partnership|
|Messi the greatest ever despite no World Cup win, insists Di Maria|
|Villa determined to earn place in Spain´s World Cup squad|
|Walcott swaps Arsenal for Everton|
|You even learn from Guardiola at home - Otamendi lauds Pep impact|
|Otamendi pens Man City deal to 2022|
|Neymar leads tributes to retiring Ronaldinho|
|Ronaldo must focus on playing - Zidane sidesteps exit talk|
|Zidane still an idol for James despite ´sad´ Madrid exit|
|Stoger will stay at Dortmund if ´everything fits´|
|Bordeaux´s Malcom facing disciplinary action over social media video|
|Ronaldinho retires – The greatest Brazilians to play for Barcelona|
|Athletic reward Williams with contract until 2025|
|Jones taking unlikely inspiration from City in United´s title pursuit|
|Moyes unaware of Chelsea interest in Carroll|
|Verdi wants Bologna stay amid Napoli links|
|Ronaldinho retires – A shining light of Brazil´s 2002 World Cup-winning team|
|Ronaldinho retires – a World Cup and Ballon d´Or among Brazil great´s prizes|
|World Cup glory and Bernabeu magic - Ronaldinho´s best moments for Barca and Brazil|
|Ligue 1 Review: Balotelli at the double as Payet shines and Malcom toils|
|Pato still dreaming of World Cup selection|
|FA Cup Review: Iheanacho makes VAR history, kit confusion reigns|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: PSG, Man City drive record-breaking spending|
|Conte packing in homework as Chelsea games stack up|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: Manchester United record highest revenue but largest debt|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: The headlines in transfers, wages and revenues|
|Iheanacho scores English football´s first VAR goal|
|Materazzi not surprised by Coutinho transfer fee|
|Ronaldinho retires - Brazil and Barca great plans 2018 farewell|
|Koziello swaps Nice for Cologne|
|Simeone ready to unleash Costa and Vitolo alongside Griezmann|
|Lambert ´never thought´ he would return to Premier League|
|Wenger ´very aggressive´ towards referee Dean, says FA report|
|Reported Arsenal target Malcom starts for Bordeaux vs Caen|
|Valverde not making big deal of Dembele´s latest Barca blow|
|Arsenal will have a ´hard time´ signing Malcom|
|Ronaldo and Madrid nominated for Laureus awards|
|Nantes´ Diego Carlos brands Chapron clash ´historic´|
|This is not important - Conte unconcerned if substitutions upset Hazard|
|Conte ´doesn´t think´ Chelsea have pursued Sanchez|
|Emery hints at Neymar return against Dijon|
|Mkhitaryan key to United-Sanchez deal, claims Raiola|
|Tevez: CSL spell was a holiday|
|Mignolet considering Liverpool future|
|Fred waiting for Guardiola call amid Man City speculation|
|Inter confident but patient over Rafinha|
|Giggs had counselling after Old Trafford exit|
|Neville: Mourinho would happily swap Mkhitaryan for Sanchez|
|Man United becoming Pogba´s team – Mourinho|
|Can ´talking with everyone´ but hints at Liverpool stay|