Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dragões valiant effort ends

Porto's brilliant Champions League effort came to conclusion as they fell 1-0 to Manchester United at Estádio do Dragão. The lone goal, a knife through the heart for Dragões supporters, came six minutes in when former Porto man Anderson provided Cristiano Ronaldo and with Aly Cissokho, the Portuguese captain let loose a unstoppable strike from thirty-five plus metres into the back of the net.

While the visitors flourished early possibly the most crushing blow came thirty-minutes in when Lucho González was stretchered off with knee injury. Fortune was on Porto's side through the balance of the first half as the English side missed a number of close ranges changes, none more perplexing than Serbian international Nemanja Vidić. The former Crvena zvezda-man turned John O'Shea's provision over the crossbar in chance he would rarely miss.

Hope flourished for the Azuis e brancos after the break with opportunities slowly opening up. In the later stages Bruno Alves and Rolando both came close via set-pieces and with only a goal needed Porto displayed the resolve that only a champion can understand needed to continue the great run. With five minutes remaining Mariano González finds Lisandro López in point-blank range but his effort falls short and is held-back by 'keeper Edwin van der Sar.

Time ticked down and as the whistle was heard, the great run in the Champions League ended with a valiant effort that all can be proud of.