PORTO, Portugal (AP) — Porto captain Pepe became the oldest scorer in Champions League history as Porto beat 10-man Antwerp 2-0 on Tuesday to end the Belgian club’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
Pepe, who is 40 years, 254 days old, scored in stoppage time after Brazilian striker Evanilson put the hosts in front with a first-half goal.
The previous record was held by Roma's Francesco Totti, who scored in Europe's top club competition at age 38 years, 59 days in 2014.
With four losses in as many matches in Group H, last-place Antwerp can no longer finish as one of the top two teams. Porto has nine points and moved level with leader Barcelona, which lost 1-0 to Shakthar Donetsk in the group's other match.
With Barcelona's loss earlier in the day, Antwerp knew it could revive its hopes of advancing. Fielding a team with many young players — including 18-year-old playmaker Arthur Vermeeren who got the captain’s armband in the absence of Toby Alderweireld — the Belgian champions started aggressively.
Antwerp initially managed to counter the hosts’ early pressure and had an excellent chance to take the lead after only eight minutes when Porto gave the ball away in its half. Forward Michel-Ange Balikwisha was quickly set up in the box, only to miss the target.
Evanilson, who had scored a hat trick in a 4-1 win in Antwerp last month, then came close but dragged his shot wide in the 15th minute.
The Brazilian forward had another occasion in the 32nd minute from the penalty spot. He sent goalkeeper Senne Lammens the wrong way to put Porto in front with his seventh goal this season.
Deputizing for Jean Butez, who stayed at home with his pregnant wife, Lammens had produced a good save to deny Pepe just seconds before the referee awarded the penalty because of a foul from Gyrano Kerk on Stephen Eustaquio in the box.
Porto played more freely after opening the scocing and could have doubled its lead two minutes before the interval when Mehdi Taremi was set up with a through ball and fired a powerful strike that hit the side netting.
Antwerp took a further blow in the 52nd minute when midfielder Jurgen Ekkelenkamp was shown a red card after VAR check for a reckless tackle on Zaidu Sanusi. Porto, however, had to wait until the added time to take advantage of the situation to add another goal when Pepe headed the ball home just after Antwerp winger Arbnor Muja missed a golden chance to level.
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The Associated Press