O FCPorto won the title of national champion last Saturday, after the victory in Luz (0-1), and will enter the final journey in a festive mood. The festivities started in the capital, continued in Dragão, where players and fans celebrated, and will continue after the game with Estoril when Porto players receive the cup on the pitch.
In the main team there is four elements that still did not add a minute in the current edition of the League and that, although their names were called during the celebrations, they are not eligible to receive the medal of national champions. With 90 minutes remaining, Sérgio Conceição has several decisions to make. There are still B-team cases, but let’s go in parts.
Manuel Morais / Kapta +
He moved from Tondela to FC Porto last season, but it was only this season that he made his debut for the main team, in the final match of the League Cup group stage, against Rio Ave (1-0), it is no longer possible to calculate. It was also the only time the 30-year-old goalkeeper wore the match shirt during the 21/22 season. The defense he made at the end of this match reminded the most forgotten of all his quality, which he left very present throughout the nine years he spent in the service of Beira.
He was an option on the bench on several occasions, but the high level and consistency of Diogo Costa and Marchesín ended up leaving the Portugal international without more chances to prove his worth. Facing Estoril can be launched mid-game or, perhaps, appear in the starting XI.
A training product. The 20-year-old goalkeeper was first called up for first-team training in 2018, aged 17, and has made the first-team already this season. Although, in theory, he is fourth in the goalscoring hierarchy, he may also have some usage time on the final matchday.
The young man was part of the little dragons which won the Youth League and is a bet taken by the club, as the constant renovations indicate. He has played four games for the B team this season, highlighting a performance worthy of the best on the pitch for the zerozero, in his debut, against Leixões (0-0).
Catarina Morais / Kapta +
The winter reinforcement made his first-team debut in the home game against Lyon (0-1), when he took the place of Pepe, replaced through injury. Fábio Cardoso was also on the bench and ended up being “overtaken” by the Portuguese international, which suggested that he would have tumbled. This was not the case.
After that, Rúben Semedo again came on as a substitute until the captain returned, when he left options. It was in the B team that he had the most playing time, having added 270 minutes in three games.
The Brazilian’s time has been a rollercoaster of emotions. He was loaned out to Al-Fayha in August after a pre-season with FC Porto, but was seriously injured on his debut and was out for most of the season. He returned to Portuguese territory for treatment and was listed in January, becoming an option.
Recovered, he played twice for the B team and was called up on the bench against Vitória SC and Portimonense, without being used. He even publicly confessed his desire to play “even if it’s 30 secondsto be officially considered a champion. Will Conceição grant the wish?
“Beasts” on the lookout?
On the other hand, there are three players from the B team who have already become champions for adding minutes at some point during the season. Goncalo Borges and Joao Mendes were released during the victory (1-4) against Belenenses SAD, while Danny Charger entered (and even scored) in the Porto derby triumph (4-1).
There are also the cases of João Marcelo, Zé Pedro and Bernardo Folha, who added minutes for the main League Cup side, but not for the league and could be on the horizon. Also for a group of Porto supporters, in a kind of awareness campaign, Silvestre Varela, three-time national champion from FC Porto who returned to the club this season for the B team, should be an option.
It has the word Sérgio Conceição.