Champions League

FC Porto rallies for a draw

2009-02-25 06:58
Lisandro Lopez (AFP Photo)
Madrid - Lisandro Lopez scored two goals Tuesday to help FC Porto rally for a 2-2 draw at Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League's first knockout round.

Pablo Ibanez misjudged a long ball in the 22nd minute and Lisandro ran in behind the Atletico defender to shoot under goalkeeper Leo Franco. The Argentina striker, who had a handful of chances in a match dominated by Porto, scored another in the 72nd for his sixth goal in seven European matches.

"The draw feels like a loss," Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira said.

Maxi Rodriguez gave Atletico the lead at the Vicente Calderon stadium in the third minute, and Diego Forlan scored Atletico's second in first-half injury time when Porto goalkeeper Helton let the Uruguay striker's shot slip through his hands.

Leo Franco made a handful of saves for Atletico, which looked listless in defence from the start and must now win the return leg at the Dragao stadium on March 11 to guarantee a place in the quarterfinals.

"Yes," Atletico coach Abel Resino said when asked if the scoreline could have been worse. "But the tie is still open. We've got to go to Porto and give it all. There's not much else to go for but a victory and we've got a chance."

Porto's potent attack nearly struck in the second minute when Hulk slipped into the area but Franco saved his effort from point-blank range.

Maxi's goal quickly erased those early jitters as Forlan drew two defenders before letting Sergio Aguero's third-minute pass slide by to reach Maxi at the far post for a quick side-foot home.

Forlan then forced Helton into saving a high-rising shot from the left in the 15th and Atletico didn't threaten again until the Uruguay striker's goal.

Lopez had an 18th-minute goal waived away for offside, prompting Ferreira to direct an obscene gesture toward the linesman.

"The referee was very bad. He broke our rhythm throughout whistling so many fouls," Ferreira said.

Franco then ensured the Portuguese champion didn't score two more before the half.

The Argentine 'keeper got his right leg down in the 25th to deflect Lisandro's shot out at the near post and, a minute later, saved Hulk on the breakaway with his shoulder.

Lisandro just missed deflecting Hulk's shot across the goal into the open net in the 42nd as Porto's attack ran roughshod over the Spanish club, only to see Forlan put the hosts ahead.

Lisandro's header was denied by Franco's hand in the 47th and the Porto striker, clear inside the area, then skied Cristian Rodriguez's centered pass over the crossbar in the 55th.

Resino withdrew Aguero in the 56th but instead of adding a defender brought on striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle, but Atletico's attack failed to pressure effectively.

"(Aguero) was working hard but he had a lot of trouble with Porto's centre backs. He did good work but it was the ideal moment for the change," Resino said.

Sections of the crowd didn't agree and whistled the decision, while Aguero soon slipped off into the locker room rather than watch the final half hour.

Its defence struggled to contain Porto's quick forwards and Antonio Lopez looked lost as Lisandro streaked in to steer home Cissokho's pass from the left to equalize.

"There were positive aspects to this game ... but we didn't score the goals we should have," Ferreira said. "We missed a lot of opportunities which is why this is a negative result."

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