News24

Porto reach quarters after draw

2009-03-12 01:24

Lisbon - Porto booked their place in the Champions League last eight on Wednesday after drawing 0-0 at home to Atletico Madrid to go through on away goals after the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate.

The Portuguese side will be appearing in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2004, when they won the trophy under Jose Mourinho.

"The result in Madrid gave us a chance to go through with a scoreless draw and that is a result we usually don't like here at the Dragao, but today we enjoyed it," Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira told reporters.

Ferreira recalled Porto's turbulent start in the tournament, including a 4-0 thrashing by Arsenal and a home defeat by Dynamo Kiev, but added that "today Porto showed character to go through and are surely among the eight best teams in Europe".

Porto looked the more dangerous from the start. Rolando headed wide in the second minute, Bruno Alves came close with a free kick and Aly Cissokho's volley from outside the box was punched away by Leo Franco.

Atletico coach Abel Resino left striker Diego Forlan on the bench until the 55th minute and his team struggled to create chances in the first half, only coming close on 16 minutes when Luis Perea forced Helton to make a smart save.

The Spanish team did not improve in the second half and the introductions of Forlan and former Porto player Maniche failed to make much difference.

"The idea was to reach the interval with good defensive work, because Porto are very strong up front, and launch Forlan in the second half to get the win, but we lacked physical strength in the final stages of the match," Resino said.

"Porto were stronger than Atletico in Madrid, which made the difference in the round," he told reporters.

Porto continued to dominate in the second half and almost took the lead twice in the 71st minute, with Raul Meireles's free kick tipped over the bar and Cristian Rodriguez's header from the ensuing corner drawing another save from Franco.

"I think the man of the match was the Atletico goalkeeper," Ferreira said.

The home side should have settled the match in the last 15 minutes but failed to convert their chances. Captain Lucho Gonzalez's shot forced Franco into yet another save and Brazilian striker Hulk hit the bar from a corner.

Lisandro Lopez, who scored the two away goals in Madrid, should have scored in the 82nd minute but hit the post from a tight angle after beating Franco.

Reuters