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Guimaraes 6-0 Ventspils (agg. 9-0)

Guimaraes 6-0 Ventspils (agg. 9-0)

Vitoria Guimaraes continued their blistering start to their Europa League campaign by securing a thumping 9-0 victory over Latvian outfit Ventspils.

Guimaraes, having secured an impressive 0-3 victory in the away leg, had all but confirmed their place in the Europa League play-off going into the second leg in Portugal, but did not take their foot off the accelerator as they powered their way past the Latvian runners-up.

Instead, they blasted past their opponents, beating them 6-0 on the night to truly cement themselves as a side not to be underestimated this campaign.

Granted, the level of opposition is not the strongest, but to beat any top division side 9-0 across two matches is most certainly noteworthy.- indeed, it is the second biggest scale of victory in the Europa League second and third qualifying rounds so far, only beaten by Suduva’s 10-0 win over San Marino minnows Tre Penne in the 2nd qualifying round.

Ventspils also have secured some impressive Europa League victories in the past two seasons. They beat Gzira United 6-2 in the previous round, for example, while they thumped Albanian side Luftetari 8-3 over two legs last campaign, only going out to French outfit Bordeaux 3-1 on aggregrate in the second qualifying round. For Guimaraes to win 9-0, therefore, is an impressive feat.

It keeps Guimaraes’ impeccable Europa League record going, the Portuguese outfit, who finished 5th in the Primeira Liga last season, having won all four of their Europa League matches so far this campaign.

And they have been going from strength to strength too; after snatching a last-gasp 0-1 victory in Luxembourg over Jeunesse Esch, they then thrashed them 4-0 in the reverse leg. They then followed that up with the 0-3 victory in Latvia over Ventspils, before hitting another 6 past them back in Guimaraes.

It means they have four wins in four, with 14 goals scored in the process - and none conceded.

They have earned an impressive 40% (0.800) of Portugal’s 2.000 points earned so far in the UEFA Coefficient, a highly impressive return for the Portuguese outfit. That is the same number of points as Benfica have earned this season for qualifying directly for the Champions League group stage (0.800), while Braga and Porto have earned just 0.200 points each.

For comparison’s sake, Rio Ave, who were the team that finished 5th in the 2017-18 campaign, only earned Portugal 0.100 points in total for the UEFA Coefficient, going out int he Europa League second qualifying round to Polish outfit Jagiellonia Bialystok, losing the first leg 1-0 before drawing the home leg 4-4.

Guimaraes will now face one of Steau Bucharest or Mlada Boleslav in the Europa League play-off round. Win that, and they are in the Europa League group stage.

How it unfolded

Guimaraes went into the tie as overwhelming favourites and, after that 0-3 away victory, they were cruising into the next round.

They remained professional throughout the tie though, playing a strong side and dominating from the off. Having seen Porto fall to a shock home defeat to Krasnodar yesterday to crash out of the Champions League, they were clearly not taking any chances, and capitalised on their lack of fixture over the previous weekend by fieldingwhat was virtually the strognest possible lineup.

The first goal was scored by talisman Davidson in the 28th minute, smashing home from the edge of the six-yard box on his third attempt in quick succession.

They could have been in front far earlier though, Amoah’s glancing header after just one and a half minutes grazing the right-hand post, while Alexander Guedes’ acrobatic shot just after the half hour mark forced a smart stop from Kudrjavcevs in the Ventspils goal. However, for all of Guiimaraes’ efforts on goal, Davidson’s strike proved to be the first and final goal of the first half, Guimaraes going into the break 1-0 up on the night, 4-0 on aggregate, easing their way to the play-off.

It was in the second half where things really took off for the Portuguese side though, with Rochinha doubling Guimaraes’ lead within three minutes of the restart, Davidson turning provider to play a cross-box pass to Rochinha who rifled into the back of the net.

Rochinha then got his second of the night ten minutes later, drilling low into the keeper’s near post to match Guimaraes’ score in Latvia.

The fourth came courtesty of Joao Carlos Teixeira, whose low long-range shot squirmed its way under the goalkeeper and into the back of the net, while Joao Pedro got the 5th in the final 10 minutes, who beat the Ventspils goalkeeper to Rochinha’s near-post cross to give Guimaraes a 5-0 lead on the night.

Pepe then completed the rout in the 86th minute, curling the ball into the left-hand corner thanks to a defence splitting pass from man of the match Rochinha, completing a hattrick of assists to go with his two second-half goal.

Spartak Moscow 1-2 Braga; Guimaraes 1-0 FCSB

Spartak Moscow 1-2 Braga; Guimaraes 1-0 FCSB

Porto 2-3 Krasnodar (agg. 3-3)

Porto 2-3 Krasnodar (agg. 3-3)