Football: Porto's flying start to season

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The Independent Online
Overseas round -up

PORTO OPENED their defence of the Portuguese title, which they have won for the past four years, with a 4-0 rout of Rio Ave.

The Brazilian midfielder Doriva Junior opened the scoring after 19 minutes with a powerful shot from outside the penalty area and the winger Nuno Capucho put Porto 2-0 ahead in the 34th when he fired an angled shot over the goalkeeper from outside the area. The Polish striker Grzegorz Mielcarski, who replaced suspended Brazilian striker Jardel, scored twice in the 71st and 79th minutes.

Benfica, traditionally one of the main title challengers but struggling with weak finances, beat Estrela Amadora 2-0 at home on Friday.

Sporting Lisbon, the third force in the league, play at Vitoria Setubal today.

Retired goalkeeper Walter Zenga was honoured on Saturday at Foxboro Stadium, Massachusetts, where he ended his playing career.

Considered one of the all-time great international goalkeepers during his years playing for Italy, Zenga, 38, returned to Foxboro, where he finished his career with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer. Zenga, who retired last year after playing one season in the fledgling professional league, was given a special tribute during half-time of New England's match against Los Angeles on Saturday.

Ossie Ardiles is in better shape than Christian Gross, who now sits in his old managerial hot seat at Tottenham. Ardiles' side Shimizu S-Pulse started the second half of the J League season with a commanding 4-2 win over Yokohama Flugels on Saturday.

Goals by Masaaki Sawanobori, Oliva, Junji Nishizawa and the substitute Kenta Hasegawa were more than enough to secure the victory.

"We didn't play as well as we could today," said Ardiles, but he added that S-Pulse had every chance of winning the second stage.