Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dragões date with history

While English tabloids gloated with delight when Manchester United was drawn to play Porto calling them the "long-shot", the so-called “Theater of Dreams” turned into the nightmare for Sir Alex as Porto out-performed them in-route to a 2-2 draw. Disregarding lowering standards of journalism that allowed such unfounded pomp to be released, Porto sits on the cusp of casting Manchester United out of the Champions League once again as the second leg heads to at Estádio do Dragão Wednesday evening. While this match will bring back delightful memories for Dragões supporters of José Mourinho dancing down the touchline after sending Man Utd home disappointed, Porto will once again need to be at their best to advance.

While history will tell us that in the previous last eleven visits of English clubs to Porto, each has returned with a victory, that provides little solace to the Azuis e brancos. Man Utd, with a vision towards an unprecedented collection of hardware, can spring up quickly from their recent problems and need to be dealt with the most careful hand.

Coming off this weekends 3-0 victory over Estrela da Amadora, Porto is fully fit for the match and anxious to repeat the glory of five years ago. Lisandro López and Tomás Costa have returned to Jesualdo Ferreira’s squad although the manager will be serving a one-match touchline ban. Echoing confidence the manager said of his sides approach to the match:

"I said before the game in Manchester that we were very confident and wanted to produce a good performance. We have the same level of confidence a week later."

"We don't know how to play in a different way.

"This team can never change its identity."