A brilliant bicycle kick from Otavio saw Porto beat Fulham 1-0 in their latest pre-season friendly at the Estádio Municipal de Albufeira.
Otavio’s acrobatics gave the Portuguese giants a first-half lead, but Scott Parker’s side battled hard and debutant Ivan Cavaleiro almost set up a late equaliser for Floyd Ayite but the Whites winger saw his shot palmed away from danger.
Fulham made an encouraging start to contest against their illustrious opponents with Kebano and Aboubakar Kamara both embarking on dangerous runs along their respective flanks and firing threatening balls across the face of goal. Porto looked technically strong and first threatened on the break with a swift counter-attack allowing Jesús Manuel Corona to find space inside the box, but Joe Bryan produced a brilliant saving tackle just as the Mexican was about to pull the trigger.
Porto quickly became the dominant force in the contest. Marcus Bettinelli had to dash off his line to complete a headed clearance outside the penalty area after the Fulham defence had been caught horribly square and then the former England under-21 goalkeeper did well to turn a bending effort from Shoya Nakajima around the post. Bettinelli was helpless after pulling off a fine save to deny Francisco Soares as Otavio found the bottom corner with an overhead as the Fulham goalkeeper was still prone on the floor.
Porto nearly doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time when sloppy marking left Soares all alone at the back post and the forward fired against the crossbar. Bryan hooked the rebound away from danger, but Parker’s charges were fortunate to be only a goal down at half time. The Fulham head coach handed Cavaleiro a first Fulham appearance, with the former Wolves winger replacing Kebano for the second period.
The Whites almost levelled within seconds of the restart. Kamara raced onto a through ball and beyond a stretched Porto defence. The French forward went through on the goalkeeper and shot for the far corner but his strike drifted just wide. Porto were next to threaten after a flurry of substitutes with Danilo Pereira stinging Bettinelli’s palms with a powerful effort, but they failed to find a second despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
It was the Cottagers who came closest to snatching a leveller at the last knockings. Cavaleiro conjured a great cross that reached Ayite at the far post, but the Togo international’s shot was saved by Porto’s Brazilian substitute goalkeeper Vana.
FC PORTO (4-3-3): D. Costa (Vana 45); Saravia (Esteves 45), Telles (Queirós 67), Pepe (Osorio 61), Marcano (Leite 61); Otavio (B. Costa 45), Pereira (Loum 67), Oliveira (Baro 45; Aboubakar 82); Corona (Fernando 67; Silva 82), Nakajima, Soares (Ze Luis 61). Subs (not used): Mbaye, Dias.
GOAL: Otavio (29).
FULHAM (4-3-3): Bettinelli (Rodak 77); Christie, Bryan (S. Sessegnon 71), Odoi, Mawson (Le Marchand 78); McDonald (O’Riley 78), Johansen (de la Torre 71), Cairney (Francois 78); Kamara (Ayite 60), Kebano (Cavaleiro 45), Mitrovic (Fonte 67). Subs (not used): Fabri, Opoku, Edun, Harris.
REFEREE: Tiago Martins.