Two first-half goals gave Porto a 2-0 win over Champions League Group G outsiders Maccabi Tel Aviv on Tuesday that put the Portuguese side in the box seat to qualify for the last 16.
Goals from Vincent Aboubakar in the 37th minute and Yacine Brahimi in the 41st helped the hosts go two points clear at the top while Dynamo Kiev held Chelsea to a goalless draw in the night’s other match.
Porto allowed Maccabi plenty of possession and space but that was never going to be enough for the Israelis as the superior speed and skill of the home team kept them in control.
Maccabi managed to create some threatening situations midway through the first 45 minutes, however they are still without a point or a goal in three matches in the competition.
The dynamic Aboubakar, a constant threat, powerfully headed home a perfect cross from the left by Miguel Layun that left visiting goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic helpless on his line.
Aboubakar then sent a ball through the middle of the defence for Brahimi to slot in the second goal.
Porto’s former Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas set a new record for the most clean sheets in the Champions League with his 51st shutout, moving one ahead of ex-Juventus and Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar.
“I am very happy to have broken the record, this was one of the easier matches I have had in the competition but I do expect it will be harder for us in the return match in Israel in two weeks’ time,” Casillas said.
Maccabi striker Tal Ben Haim conceded that Porto were a much better team although he thought there might have been a chance for a different result.
“Porto are a much stronger side than us, we definitely weren’t fancied in this match and nobody expected us to win but perhaps if we had managed to go in at halftime without conceding, we may have been able to do something,” he said.