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Rediff.com  » Sports » Porto cruise to Champions League glory

Porto cruise to Champions League glory

Last updated on: May 27, 2004 09:46 IST

Porto have been crowned European champions for the second time after three brilliantly taken goals sealed an emphatic 3-0 victory over Monaco at the Arena AufSchalke stadium.

Minutes after Wednesday's Champions League final Porto coach Jose Mourinho said he was leaving the club after guiding them to their fifth and most important prize in just over two years in charge.

Porto's Deco holds the cup to celebrate his team's 3-0 Champions League final victory"This is almost for sure my last match (in charge of Porto) but I think in two years we did great," Mourinho told reporters.

"I'm very proud of what we did but the time to leave has arrived. It's the best way (to bow out). It was 2-1/2 years and it was fantastic, absolutely fantastic. We won everything.

"In the next few days I will decide everything. I have to speak to the club (Porto) because I still have a contract with them but I have to move. My desire is to leave."

A curling volley by 19-year-old Brazilian Carlos Alberto after 39 minutes, a well-drilled shot from Deco Souza (71) and a piledriver from Russian substitute Dmitri Alenichev (75) buried Monaco, who never recovered from losing captain Ludovic Giuly to injury midway through the first half.

Porto's victory, just a year after Mourinho guided them to the UEFA Cup, was, as ever, based on tireless team-work and a rock solid defence. Monaco striker Fernando Morientes never remotely had a chance of adding to the 11 Champions League goals he has scored this season.

Porto became the first team since Liverpool in 1976 and 1977 to be crowned European champions the year after winning the UEFA Cup, and apart from a brief spell when they lost concentration at the start of the second half, they always looked the more likely winners.

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Porto came out on top of an ultimately entertaining match but the omens did not look good after both sides made ultra-cautious starts.

Following last year's tedious final between AC Milan and Juventus which was decided on penalties after a 0-0 draw, this game looked in danger of developing along similar lines.

That changed six minutes before the break, however, when some South American magic from Carlos Alberto put Porto ahead.

He was the first to react to a ball that took a deflection off a defender, curling home a superbly-taken volley which gave goalkeeper Flavio Roma no chance and made him the third youngest scorer in the final's history after Patrick Kluivert in 1995 and Brian Kidd in 1968.

Monaco came out strongly in the second half searching for an equaliser and created more chances in the first 10 minutes after the break than they had done throughout the first half.

But with Nuno Valente, Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Costa and Paulo Ferreira playing superbly at the back, they could find no way through.

The one time Monaco did look like breaching the defence, they allowed Porto to regain possession and moments later the ball was in the back of the French side's net.

Porto's counter-attack ended with Deco trading passes with Alenichev before scoring the decisive second goal after 71 minutes. Four minutes later Alenichev took advantage of another defensive error to blast home the third goal that brought the European Cup back to Porto for the first time since 1987.

"Porto were a better team than us," Monaco coach Didier Deschamps said. "They had more experience and for a final that's very important."

"I'm just disappointed for the player who have done very well during a long, long season but didn't win anything."

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