Manchester United target James Rodriguez answers controversy by starting and scoring

Porto F1

Manchester United target James Rodriguez scored for Porto after getting the nod to start.

Colombian winger James Rodriguez was the talk of Portugal after Porto's Champions League exit to Malaga last week.

The 21-year-old had been involved in a public contradiction of his manager Vitor Pereira, who had claimed prior to the game in Spain that the winger was not fit enough to start.

He left him out for the fifth time in six games, and despite bringing him off the bench at half-time Porto were eliminated.

After the game Rodriguez stated to the media he was fully fit and could have played the 90 minutes, contradicting his boss and creating headlines in Portugal.

On Friday, Pereira dismissed the claims, asking the player to respect his decision, but chose not to stoke the controversy any further by leaving him out again this weekend.

Porto traveled to Maritimo, two points behind league leaders Benfica, hoping to temporarily overtake their rivals.

It began well, and James Rodriguez was central to it. Predictably the winger scored the opening goal of the game in the 33rd minute, keeping his name in the headlines.

The bad news for Porto came next. They were pegged back five minutes later and the game finished 1-1. Rodriguez' main second half contribution was a yellow card, but he did last the 90 minutes.

Benfica played afterwards, winning away to Guimares 4-0 extending their lead to five points at the top. Of note to Manchester United fans was a goal for defensive target Ezequiel Garay.

Check out Rodriguez' goal below:

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch