Andre Villas-Boas' men overcame the Archbishops in a thrilling game, decided by the individual brilliance of striker Falcao
Porto is the new Europa League champions after the Dragons defeated Braga 1-0 in the 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 2002-2003.
After a nervy opening to the game, Porto took the lead just before halftime through Radamel Falcao. The Dragons managed to fend off the Archbishops in the second half, and deservedly claimed its second ever cup in Europe's second-tier club competition.
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 defense in the third 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 center of the pitch as the two Portuguese sides were fiercely fighting for every inch. Villas-Boas' troops were slowly gaining the upper hand, forcing the Archbishops to defend deep in their own half.
Porto came really to scoring in the seventh minute when 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 its 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 halftime whistle, the Dragons opened the scoring. The usual suspects were involved as Fredy 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 its best chance of the game just one minute into the second half as substitute Marcio Mossoro capitalized on a horrible mistake by Rolando, 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 it nails near the hour-mark as a bizarre sprint off his line almost got Porto into trouble. Porto nearly doubled its 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 was throwing everything forward, but on each and every occasion were superbly shackled by Porto's rock-solid defense.
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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