BILBAO, Spain (AFP) – Two-time European champions Porto sealed their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a comfortable 2-0 win away to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
Colombian striker Jackson Martinez made amends by smashing a first-half penalty against the bar when he bundled home the opener 11 minutes into the second-half. Yacine Brahimi then sealed the three points 17 minutes from time as he pounced on a shocking error from Athletic ‘keeper Gorka Iraizoz to tap into an empty net.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s 5-0 thrashing of BATE Borisov leaves the Ukrainians still just two points behind Porto at the top of Group H with two games to play.
Porto posed the greater threat during the first 45 minutes, but lacked the killer touch in front of goal.
Martinez was first to go close when his effort at the near post from Cristian Tello’s cross was deflected wide and he then flashed a header just off target from the resulting corner.
The visitors were presented with a great chance to go in front when Mikel Balenziaga was harshly adjudged to have brought down Danilo inside the area, but Martinez was wasteful once more as he blasted the penalty off the bar.
Athletic boss Ernesto Valverde tried to turn things around by introducing Iker Muniain and Andoni Iraola at half-time.
However, it made little difference as Martinez finally got his goal when he forced the ball home at the near post from Brahimi’s low cross.