Malaga - Malaga's remarkable Champions League campaign continued on Wednesday
when they beat Porto 2-0 to progress to the quarter-finals 2-1 on
Trailing 1-0 after the first leg in Portugal, Malaga
levelled the tie on aggregate when Isco scored with a stunning strike
just before half-time.
If that gave the Spanish club confidence,
they were left in an even stronger position when Porto had Steven Defour
sent off for a second booking shortly after the restart.
substitute Roque Santa Cruz scored the crucial goal, heading home with
13 minutes left, as Malaga become the third club from La Liga in the
quarter-final draw, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona.
unbeaten in their domestic league this season, and leading thanks to
Joao Moutinho's solitary strike in the first leg last month, Porto would
have been confident of seeing off the challenge of Malaga at La
Vitor Pereira's side started strongly, too, dominating possession despite the hostile atmosphere.
had not won a domestic game since losing the first leg in Portugal, and
they took their time to come into the contest, but a strong finish to
the first period saw them come right back into the tie.
minutes of the opening half remained when Malaga produced their first
chance of note, Portuguese left-back Antunes letting fly from 25 yards
and forcing a fine save from Helton, who tipped the ball over for a
Little Argentine striker Javier Saviola then thought he
had given Malaga the lead on the night when he stabbed home from close
range, but his effort was disallowed for a supposed foul by Julio
Baptista on Helton.
Replays showed that Baptista was unlucky to be
penalised by the Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli, but it was a maybe a
sense of injustice that drove the home side to level the tie in the 43rd
Manuel Iturra found Isco, who turned and spotted Helton
off his line before whipping a brilliant finish into the top corner from
La Rosaleda erupted as the young playmaker gave another display of the talent that has him earmarked for a glorious career.
the moment that really tipped the balance the way of Manuel
Pellegrini's side came four minutes into the second half, when Porto's
Belgian midfielder Defour was dismissed.
Defour had already been booked when he went rashly into a challenge on Joaquin, and Rizzoli produced a second yellow card.
The tension was now palpable, with Porto knowing that an away goal would leave Malaga staring at elimination.
the hosts sensed blood against the 10 men, and Santa Cruz was sent on
for Baptista to freshen up the attack for the closing stages.
The big Paraguayan needed just three minutes to make the difference, heading low into the net from Isco's out-swinging corner.
Malaga were almost there, but there were still some nervy moments to come for the home fans.
thought they had that all-important away goal when Maicon headed in
with 10 minutes to go, but his effort was disallowed for offside.
It was a marginal decision, but the correct one, and Pellegrini's side held on to take their place in the last eight.