Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dragões "Theater of Dreams"

Whether you refer it to the "Champions League" or "Liga dos Campeões", the result is the same as Porto against all-odds, went into the "fortress" of Old Trafford and earned a 2-2 draw against Manchester United.

Old Trafford, often referred to as the "Theater of Dreams" (Teatro dos sonhos), provided Dragões supporters far and wide the beautiful memories of five years ago when José Mourinho was the architect of their destruction of Man Utd. With the draw and the all important two "away" goals Porto is in a very favourable position for the return engagement next Wednesday at Estádio do Dragão.

The match begin and if you can excuse me for a bit, was a perfect example of "joga bonito" as Porto began with a beautiful thrust, seizing the opportunity to teach the overconfident Manchester United a lesson in their home grounds. While English media had pressed their noses high in the air the moment the draw was announced and some referred to Porto as a "long shot", the "long shot" came in big.

As traveling fans clad in Azuis e brancos sung out, Porto quickly hushed critics who called them long-shots. Swarming in a passionate high-energy display led to the first goal only four minutes in. After a poor pass from former Sporting man Cristiano Ronaldo was intercepted, Lucho González attempted to cross into the box however his effort was blocked by Jonny Evans. However his clearance immediately came to Cristian Rodríguez, who moved to the defenders right before driving the ball past Edwin van der Sar to make it 1-0. Up by one, the Dragões swarmed a bewildered Man Utd but at the fifteenth minute disaster struck resulting in Wayne Rooney squaring the match up. A simple pass from Aly Cissokho was played to Bruno Alves, who then looked to pass back to 'keeper Helton. However much to the Portugal international's disappointment, he provided Rooney the ball to which he easily plunked the ball into the net. Through the balance of the half Porto continued to dominate with Fernando living up to his vast potential in the midfield and Hulk continuing to shine in the attack.

The second half began with a significantly more up tempo Man Utd. Pushing the ball, the hosts were looking for the opening but still they could not break down Jesualdo Ferreira's tactical plan. However with five minutes remaining Gary Neville's throw in was delicately flicked by Wayne Rooney to a surging Carlos Tévez, who sent the ball in. However a minute from time, the curtain came crashing down for Man Utd at the "Theater of Dreams" as Lisandro López sent a cross to the back post to Mariano González, who after controlling the ball, sent the ball in to end the perfect evening with 2-2 draw.