Football Season Review

Champions: FC Porto

Four years later, Porto picked the title once again. Sérgio Conceição played a major role in the rehabilitation of a team that was getting angry to see Benfica collecting titles one after the other. The new coach brought a combative and competitive mentality to the team that proved to be key in decisive moments of the season. Porto had two shaky moments in an otherwise close to perfect season. After a great start with 10 wins and only one draw at Alvalade against direct rivals Sporting, Porto picked two consecutive worry draws. First, on the road, while visiting the modest Desportivo das Aves; and then, playing at home, against rivals Benfica. Those two draws led Porto to be caught on the table by Sporting. Dragões would eventually got back on track and finished the first half of the season two points ahead from second place Sporting. The second half of the season was a bit more bouncing, which was valid for any other team in the league. The accumulation of matches from all different competitions led to a fatigue that had consequences. In between March and the beginning of April, Porto had two consecutive away defeats (rounds 26 and 28), which ended up costing the first place in the table for the first time, as Benfica took a one point lead. Two rounds after, the two teams faced each other in what arguably was the most important match of the season. Thanks to a soulful and solid performance at plain Estádio da Luz, Porto could get back the lead right in the arch-rivals nest, with Herrera assuming the role of the hero, having scored a late, dramatic and all important winning goal. After this match it was only a matter of managing the lead with a immaculate final four games, while Dragões were watching their direct rivals struggling at the very same time. Up to a point where Porto was able to finish the season with a robust seven points difference towards the second place. There were a few important pieces in the title winning season for ‘Azuis-e-Brancos’. Both centre-halves had probably their best season of the entire careers. Both Felipe and Marcano were tremendously solid at the back helping the team to feel safe when pilling up the pressure in the attack. Left-back Alex Telles was the player with more assists in the whole league, which alone tells of the importance of Telles’ quality of crossing. Danilo was being again very important in the midfield but picked an injury in an important part of the season that worried Porto fans for a bit. Luckily, Sérgio Oliveira started to appear and formed with Herrera a very solid partnership in the centre, while Porto changed to a flat 4-line in the midfield. Brahimi had intermittent brilliance throughout the season, but his inconsistency was still an issue. Soares, Aboubakar, and in the final third of the season, Marega had also good moments in the season, but some injury problems in all three avoided an even better year for them. It was the Mexican midfielder Herrera the one who was more consistent throughout the entire season, grabbing decisive performances every week. Just like the duo at the back, but with more influence in the whole spectrum of moments in the game, both defensively and in the attack, Herrera was rarely having an off day, and had perhaps his best season since arrived at Porto, back in 2013.

Player of the Season: Hector Herrera