Dragons roast Lions - plus more tunnel funny stuff

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When Porto hosted Sporting in the Portuguese Cup quarter-finals, both teams wanted to prove a point.

The Dragons had emphatically won at Nacional while Sporting were dealt a major title blow at Braga, but most people were expecting a close, hard-fought contest.

However, football is an unpredictable animal - and Porto crushed every ounce of pride and self-esteem that the Lions might have had.

Rolando put the hosts in front from a corner and although three minutes later Sporting levelled with their first shot on goal - an amazing long-range effort from Russian Marat Izmailov - it was Porto who pressed on and in-form Radamel Falcao scored twice to give the Dragons a comfortable half-time lead.

Now, The Portugeezer doesn’t know what Sporting manager Carvalhal told his pupils in the dressing room but one thing is certain: it didn’t work.

The Sporting manager brought on new guy Florent Sinama-Pongolle and his impact was about the same as the guy selling peanuts on the stands.

Porto scored two more through Varela and Mariano Gonzaléz, the latter a breathtaking screamer.

Home fans took the opportunity to rub salt in Sporting’s wounds by chanting “Olé” every time a successful pass was made and even gave them an ironic applause when Liédson scored a goal in injury time.

Sporting are now out of contention and, like Juande Ramos watching his Real Madrid side beaten 6-2 at home by Barcelona, this heavy loss may be looked back on as the moment that sealed Carvalhal's fate at the club.

One word of appreciation for Rúben Micael: the former Nacional midfielder was everywhere, opening up the Sporting defence and dictating play like Lucho González used to do not long ago.

With Carlos Queiroz closely following the match in the stands, Micael seemed to be demanding a ticket to the 2010 World Cup. And he certainly deserves it...

Tunnels of love

Tunnels are quickly becoming the next big fad in Portugal - perhaps led by the debate, now finally dying down, over the scuffle between Hulk and Sapunaru and the stewards during the match between Porto and Benfica.

BLOG, Fri Jan 29: Punches, prostitutes, payments and phonetaps

Just as that one fades away, now Braga are rocked by hefty suspensions for Márcio Mossoró and Vandinho over their alleged behaviour in the tunnel in the November 1 match against Benfica.

The Portugeezer doesn’t have exclusive footage that may prove that the Braga players deserve their suspensions (three matches for Mossoró, a full three MONTHS for Vandinho), but the whole process seems anything but clear.

First of all, the match occurred three months ago. At the time, André Leone and Óscar Cardozo were both suspended and no club sought further punishment.

And weirdly, this happened just after the deadline for registering new players, thus preventing Braga from signing suitable replacements.

Once again, a controversial row somehow related to Benfica is ruled in favour of the Eagles.

Even if you’re a die-hard fan of the club, that surely smells funny.

Thankfully, Braga had already brought in the likes of Olberdam and Luís Aguiar, which may just be enough to cope without the mercurial duo.

Still, if there’s a lesson to be learnt from these ongoing disputes, it’s that tunnels are quickly overtaking fields as the most exciting part of a stadium and therefore require cameras.

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