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UEFA Europa League

  • 19 May 2011
  • • 00:15
  • • Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
  • • Attendance: 45391
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Porto 1-0 Braga: Radamel Falcao Heads Dragons To Europa League Glory

Porto 1-0 Braga: Radamel Falcao Heads Dragons To Europa League Glory

Andre-Villas Boas man overcame the Archbishops in a thrilling game, decided by the individual brilliance of striker Falcao

Porto are the new Europa League champions after the Dragons defeated Braga 1-0 in a memorable final in Dublin. The team led by Andre-Villas Boas, who became the youngest coach ever to win a Uefa club competition after this triumph, lift the trophy eight years after Jose Mourinho guided the Portuguese giants to the Uefa Cup in season 2002-2003.

After a nervy opening to the game Porto took the lead
just before half-time through Radamel Falcao. The Dragons managed to fend off the Archbishops in the second half, and deservedly claimed their second ever cup in Europe's second most prestigious club football tournament.
 
Both teams started the game cautiously, waiting to pounce on a mistake by the opposition. Braga's Custodio nearly punished a concentration lapse in Porto's defence in the 3rd minute when he beat the offside trap only to see his volley from outside the box fly wide.

Most of the action commenced in the centre of the pitch as the two Portuguese sides were fiercely fighting for every inch. The Dragons were slowly gaining the upper hand, forcing the Archbishops to defend deep in their own half.

Andre Villas-Boas' men came really close to scoring in the 7th minute, when Brazilian Hulk skipped past three players on the right side of the box before sending a shot for the top-left corner which narrowly missed the target.

The game started to become scrappy after the exciting opening, and chances for either team were hard to come by. Still, Porto looked more likely to take the opener and nearly did so near the half-hour mark when Silvestre Varela saw a header from inside the box miss the target.

Custodio sent a warning shot in the 38th minute with a poorly struck volley from outside the box in a rare attack from the Archbishops. Braga would not curse their luck, however, as moments later goalkeeper Artur blasted a clearance right into striker Radamel Falcao, but luckily for Domingos Paciencia's men the ball was deflected out for a goal-kick.

With just one minute until the half-time whistle the Dragons opened the scoring. The usual suspects were involved as Freddy Guarrin sent in an inch-perfect cross for Falcao in the box, and the Colombian rose above all to sent an unstoppable header into the top-left corner.



Braga got their best chance of the game just one minutes into the second half as substitute Marcio Mossoro capitalised on a horrible mistake by Ronaldo, but failed to draw the game level with just goalkeeper Helton to beat.

Porto started defending deeply, and looked like an unbreakable wall as Paciencia's men were struggling to create clear-cut chances. Paulo Cesar had a shot blocked in the 54th minute as Braga were tightening the grip.

Helton got the Dragons' fans biting their nails near the hour-mark as a bizarre sprint off his line almost got Porto into trouble. Porto nearly double their advantage ten minutes later when Alvaro Pereira just could not connect with a Hulk cross deep in Braga's penalty area.

Substitute Meyong Ze had a great chance in the 77th minute, but sent a poor shot from outside the box under no pressure at all, allowing Helton to claim the ball comfortably. Braga were throwing everything forward, but on each and every occasion were superbly shackled by Porto's rock-solid defence.

The Archbishops gave all they had in the remaining minutes of the game, but it was Porto who claimed the cup in the end.

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Andre Villas-Boas could become the youngest coach ever to win a Uefa club competition if Porto are able to defeat Braga on Wednesday. The 33-year-old will likely employ the attacking triumvirate of Varela, Hulk and Falcao.

Braga (4-4-2)

Artur; Garcia, Rodriguez, Paulao, Silvio; Alan, Vandinho, Custodio, Viana; Lima, Meyong

Braga


Coach Domingos Paciencia has announced he will leave the club after the clash in Dublin. With a win on Wednesday the 42-year-old would become the first manager to beat a team he previously featured for as a player in a Uefa Cup or Europa League final.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Porto are currently riding a three-game winning streak against Braga, outscoring them 9-3 during that span.
  • Andre Villas-Boas' men finished the season undefeated in the Portuguese Liga with 27 wins and three draws.
  • The Portuguese rivals are separated by just 47 km, which is a Uefa tournament final record.
  • Falcao set a new tournament record with his 16th goal of the campaign, surpassing legendary Bayern Munich striker Jurgen Klinsmann who scored 15 in 1995-96.
  • Braga's last victory against Porto came on September 19, 2009.
  • Artur and Silvio have played every minute of the Archbishops' Europa League campaign.
  • The two sides have never faced each other in European competition before.
  • Braga coach Domingos Paciencia was the Portuguese Liga's top scorer with Porto back in the 1995-96 season.
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Field Report
Last Five Matches
May 5, 2011 Villarreal 3 - Porto 2 EL
Apr 28, 2011 Porto 5 - Villarreal 1 EL
Apr 14, 2011 Spartak 2 - Porto 5 EL
Apr 7, 2011 Porto 5 - Spartak 1 EL
Mar 17, 2011 Porto 2 - CSKA 1 EL
May 5, 2011 Braga 1 - Benfica 0 EL
Apr 28, 2011 Benfica 2 - Braga 1 EL
Apr 14, 2011 Braga 0 - Dynamo 0 EL
Apr 7, 2011 Dynamo 1 - Braga 1 EL
Mar 17, 2011 Liverpool 0 - Braga 0 EL
Team News
Available Squads
1 Helton Goalkeeper
14 Rolando Defender
21 Cristian Sapunaru Defender
30 Nicolás Otamendi Defender
5 Alvaro Pereira Midfielder
6 Freddy Guarín Midfielder
8 Joao Moutinho Midfielder
17 Silvestre Varela Striker
25 Fernando Midfielder
9 Falcao Striker
12 Hulk Striker
24 Beto Goalkeeper
4 Maicon Pereira Roque Defender
7 Fernando Belluschi Midfielder
19 James Rodríguez Midfielder
23 Souza Midfielder
28 Ruben Midfielder
18 Walter Striker
1 Artur Goalkeeper
2 Alberto Junior Rodríguez Defender
3 Paulao Defender
15 Miguel Garcia Defender
28 Silvio Defender
- Custodio Midfielder
45 Hugo Viana Midfielder
88 Vandinho Midfielder
9 Rocha Paulo Cesar Striker
18 Lima Striker
30 Alan Striker
42 Cristiano Figueiredo Goalkeeper
4 Claudiano Bezerra da Silva Defender
20 Uwa Elderson Echiejile Defender
7 Marcio Mossoro Goalkeeper
10 Helder Barbosa Midfielder
25 Leandro Salino Midfielder
19 Meyong Ze Striker
Players to Watch
Falcao
Falcao
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
14 17 1 0
The Colombian hitman has been ruthless in front of goal in the 2010-11 Europa League campaign. His 16 goals set a single season tournament record and he will no doubt be hungry for more against Braga. He forms one of the world's deadliest partnerships with Brazilian Hulk upfront.
Alan
Alan
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 30
Games Goals YC RC
8 2 0 0
The one-time Porto castaway has played an integral role in Braga's unlikely march to the Europa League final. The veteran winger would love nothing more than to come back to haunt his old side in Dublin on Wedensday.
Probable Lineups
Helton 1
Rolando 14
Cristian Sapunaru 21
Nicolás Otamendi 30
Alvaro Pereira 5
Freddy Guarín 6
Joao Moutinho 8
Silvestre Varela 17
Fernando 25
Falcao 9
Hulk 12
Artur 1
Alberto Junior Rodríguez 2
Paulao 3
Miguel Garcia 15
Silvio 28
Custodio 0
Hugo Viana 45
Vandinho 88
Rocha Paulo Cesar 9
Lima 18
Alan 30
Porto have an excellent track record against Braga and should once again put their Portuguese rivals to the sword and make Andre Villas-Boas the youngest ever coach to win a major Uefa club competition.

Editor's Prediction
Now You Predict the Match!
Porto Braga The Fans' Predictions
3 1 20% (431)
2 0 15% (310)
2 1 12% (251)
3 0 11% (236)
4 1 6% (126)
1 0 6% (123)
Total predictions: 2124
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Only results with greater than 5% of the voting are displayed.
Your Say (31)
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Results
Final
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Falcao Falcao
Striker
Porto
17 2
Giuseppe Rossi Giuseppe Rossi
Striker
Villarreal
11 4
Hulk Hulk
Striker
Porto
8 1
Ricky van Wolfswinkel Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Striker
Utrecht
7 3
Edinson Cavani Edinson Cavani
Striker
Napoli
7 1
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