Porto advances in Champions League with 4-0 win over Basel

PORTO, Portugal (AP) — FC Porto trounced Basel 4-0 on Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time since 2004, when the Portuguese club won the title.

Goals from Yacine Brahimi, Hector Herrera, Casemiro and Vincent Aboubakar in the last-16 return leg built on a 1-1 draw in Switzerland two weeks earlier to give Porto a convincing 5-1 aggregate victory.

Porto, a two-time European champion, is on a strong run of form. In the group stage it was one of three clubs, with Real Madrid and Chelsea, to complete the first phase unbeaten.

“We gave a fantastic performance,” Porto coach Julen Lopetegui said. “We’re among the eight best teams in Europe and we deserve to be there … We never sat back, we kept attacking. We are showing a lot of ambition.”

Basel, which last appeared in the quarterfinals of Europe’s top-tier tournament 41 years ago, was strong in midfield but created few goalscoring chances over the two legs.

In Tuesday’s other last-16 game, Schalke beat Real Madrid 4-3 on the night at the Bernabeu, but lost 5-4 on aggregate to the holders.

Porto was the dominant team in Portugal as Basel worked hard to shut down the hosts in midfield but struggled in attack.

Brahimi opened the scoring in the 14th, curling an expert free-kick from just outside the area over the Basel wall that goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik didn’t even attempt to stop.

Soon after, Casemiro saw Vaclik off his goal line and fired a powerful shot from long range that went just over the bar.

Porto cranked up the pressure as Aboubakar struck a thundering volley that flew just wide of Vaclik’s left post, and Cristian Tello got behind Basel’s defense before Walter Samuel cleared.

Marco Streller’s wayward effort from outside the Porto area in the 32nd and Shkelzen Gashi’s low left-foot shot past the post just before the break were the visitors’ only first-half efforts on goal.

Herrera extended Porto’s lead two minutes into the second half with a shot from the left of the area that went into the far corner. Less than 10 minutes later, Casemiro scored from a free-kick 30 meters out, and Aboubakar sealed it in the 76th with another long-range shot.

Porto goalkeeper Fabiano saved from Luca Zuffi at close range in the 60th and kept out Streller’s effort in the 83rd as Porto recorded another clean sheet.

Porto has won its last six Portuguese league games without conceding a goal — its best run since the 2010-11 season.

Samuel was shown his second yellow card and sent off in added time.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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