Porto 0-1 Manchester United – UEFA Champions League – 15 April 2009 – Live Blog

Porto 0-1 Manchester United (Ronaldo 6′) – Man Utd win 3-2 on aggregate.
Stadium: Estadio do Dragao, Portugal
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Quarterfinals, Second Leg
Date: 15 April 2009
Kickoff: 19:45 GMT, 14:45 EST

Manchester United overcame a shaky first leg and prevailed at the Estadio do Dragao to eliminate Porto and advance to the Semifinals! Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the liveblog and feel free to leave comment below!

Match Preview:

When the Quarterfinal draw was announced, most pundits believed that Manchester United got the best draw out of any team when they avoided their English rivals, as well as Barcelona, and drew lightly-regarded Porto.

With the first leg at Old Trafford, most pundits believed that United would win comfortably, thereby rendering the second leg moot. With his team facing a big F.A. Cup Semifinal match five days after the second leg, as well as a tightening Premiership race, most pundits believed that Sir Alex Ferguson was going to use the second leg as a way to rest his key players, and maybe get a look at some of his future stars.

Most pundits were wrong.

Porto attacked Manchester United from the beginning of their match last week and exposed some huge deficiencies in United’s defense. If that weren’t enough, United seemed determined to make their task as difficult as possible, giving the ball away in the worst possible areas and playing sloppy, uninspired football.

Perhaps they were still hungover from the aftermath of their emotional come-from-behind victory over Aston Villa, which took place a mere two days before the first leg against Porto. Perhaps they believed the hype from most pundits, who thought that United could sleepwalk to a comfortable victory against Porto.

In any event, they find themselves in the fight of their lives as they’ll have to do what no English team has done in 11 years, and that’s win at Porto. Manchester United were able to rest both Patrice Evra and Cristiano Ronaldo over the weekend, but once again looked shaky in defense, even though they managed to win at Sunderland.

They may have shown a preview of their gameplan for the Porto match by playing Berbatov, Rooney, and Tevez together. We have yet to see the three of them with Ronaldo for extended periods of time. That time may come during this match, since Sir Alex is going to need all the offense he can get. If they can’t deliver, then it will spell the end of United’s title defense, and Sir Alex will have to ruminate over yet another premature European exit during his tenure as manager.

As for Porto, they have shown what they’re capable of, and will probably stick to the same gameplan that they used at Old Trafford. Teams that have done well against United this season have been the ones that have attacked and played positive football from the very start of the match.

With United’s defense looking unsettled, Porto would be wise to ride their big guns, Cristian Rodriguez, Lisandro Lopez, and Hulk, as much as possible. With Porto’s strength on the counterattack, and Manchester United’s commitment to the attack, it could be an exciting, wide-open match.

Will Manchester United get the job done and advance to the Semifinals? Or will Porto, once again, send them home early? Tune in and find out!


Porto: Helton, Sapunaru, Alves, Rolando, Cissokho, Fernando, Lucho (c), Meireles, Lisandro, Hulk, Rodriguez.
Subs: Nuno, Stepanov, Guarin, Mariano, Farias, Costa, Madrid.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Porto will run out the same squad that earned the draw at Old Trafford a week ago. Alves will start again, despite committing a terrible howler in the first leg. Fernando, the defensive midfielder will sit in front of the back-four, and if he plays like he did a week ago, then it could be over for United. Lisandro Lopez needs two goals to tie Leo Messi atop the standings for most goals in the Champions League.

Manchester United: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Anderson, Carrick, Giggs (c), Ronaldo, Rooney, Berbatov.
Subs: Foster, Neville, Nani, Scholes, Evans, Tevez, Macheda.

The big news is that Ferdinand has won his fitness battle and will return to the lineup for the first time since the loss to Fulham in the Premiership. He’ll replace Evans in the lineup. The other major changes from the side that drew with Porto a week ago will be in the midfield, where Scholes, Fletcher, and Park have been dropped in favor of Giggs, Anderson, and Rooney, who looks to start out on the left wing, much like he did in the Sunderland game. Berbatov will do the heavy lifting up front on his own, but he’ll have plenty of help from Ronaldo and Rooney. As expected, United’s good-luck charm, Macheda, is on the bench.


90′ + 3 Rooney draws the foul, and you can bet United will take their time. No, they take it quickly, and Rooney loses it in the corner. Porto with one last chance as they launch a desperation cross into the box. Ferdinand is there to hit it away and that should be that. There’s the whistle and United have moved on! It was a tense and nervy match, but United did just enough to advance. It’ll be United v. Arsenal and, once again, three English teams have advanced to the Semifinals! Thanks to everyone who followed along! I’ll be here on the weekend for the F.A. Cup Semis! Until then!

90′ + 2 United play it short and try to waste time. Rooney gets it and he takes on Cissokho. He wins a throw for his troubles.

90′ + 1 Scholes draws the foul and Lisandro is very upset with the call. Nani tees up Ronaldo on the edge of the box, and he fires a shot to the near-post that Helton just manages to get a hand on. Great save because that was going in.

90′ Well, it’s the 90th minute. This is where United fell apart in 2004. Will it happen again? Hulk seems to think so, and he tries a long-range shot that’s well off the mark. Three minutes will be added on.

89′ Costa with a dangerous cross from the right wing into the center of the box for Farias. He gets his head on it, but he flicks it behind him and away from danger.

88′ Poor clearance on the corner and Nani volleys it towards the goal. It’s off the mark, though, and Porto will have it.

87′ Giggs gets it in the same place as Nani, and he wins a corner for his troubles. See Nani? That’s how it’s done! Giggs nearly finds Vidic, but it’s knocked back out to Giggs. He makes a nice cutback and tries to cross it to Rooney, but it’s out for another corner.

86′ Nani gets it deep down the left flank. He loses it, though, and that’ll be a goal-kick for Helton.

85′ Evra gambles on a tackle, and Mariano leaves him flat-footed. His cross is poor, though, and United knock it away. Mariano gets a second chance, but he sends in another poor cross. Mariano tries a third time, and he finds Lisandro inside the box. He flicks a shot on target, but Van der Sar holds onto it. That could have been their best chance.

84′ Costa sends in a cross, but Ferdinand is there to knock it away. Costa sends in another cross, this one is to Farias. Once again, Ferdinand is there.

83′ Rooney with a long-range shot that’s just over the crossbar.

81′ Scholes with the giveaway, and United’s defense looks spread thin. Hulk takes a shot from the edge of the box, but Rooney knocks it away for a corner. On the corner, Farias gets an overhead kick, but it’s nowhere near the goal.

80′ Ronaldo and Sepunaru fight over the ball, and Sepunaru does well to keep Ronaldo from getting it. That’ll be Sepunaru’s last act, as he’s off for Costa.

78′ Great pass from Alves to Cissokho, who has room down the left. O’Shea can’t get there in time and Cissokho unleashes a dangerous corner that Evra has to knock away for a corner. Anderson leaves and he’ll get a nice ovation from the crowd. Scholes is in for him. Meanwhile, on the corner, Meireles sends a corner to the far post and Van der Sar hesitates. He doesn’t get to it and Rolando gets a free header. It’s just over the crossbar, though, and United escape.

75′ Nani gives it away and Evra does well to close down Mariano and gives up a corner. Let’s see what Porto can do here. Mariano’s corner is to the near post for Alves, but his header is well off the mark.

74′ Hulk tries to cross it from deep down the left, but he loses it over the end-line. Goal-kick to Van der Sar.

73′ Evra gives it away again, and I’m starting to wonder what team he’s playing for.

72′ Giggs sends a great through-ball to Ronaldo, but he’s ruled offside.

70′ Cissokho with a dangerous cross from the left flank and Hulk is ready to pounce on it in front of goal. Vidic intervenes in time, though, and knocks it away.

69′ Good work by Ronaldo in the box and he sends it out to Rooney. He can’t get his shot off in time, and it’s blocked by Cissokho.

68′ Change for United as Berbatov will come off for Nani.

67′ Giggs’ corner goes out to Anderson. He gives it back to Giggs, but Giggs loses it over the touchline for a Porto throw.

66′ Rooney works on Cissokho and he wins a corner for his troubles. Nothing doing on the corner, but Rooney wins another corner for his side as he simply bangs it off Sepunaru.

63′ Porto make a change and it’ll be Rodriguez coming off for Farias. Meanwhile, Arsenal are up 2-0, and that should be enough to take them through.

62′ Berbatov throws Alves down as they fight for the ball. They have some words and Porto players are crowding the ref, no doubt asking for a booking.

61′ Rooney sends in a dangerous cross from the right flank to the far post where Giggs waits. Sepunaru knocks it out to concede the corner. Giggs’ corner brings Helton off his line, and he has trouble getting to it. Ultimately, he’s able to knock it back to Giggs, whose cross is knocked out for a United throw.

59′ Rodriguez tries a shot from long-range, but it’s well wide of the post. Meanwhile, Evra has been officially booked for the earlier foul.

58′ Porto will have a great chance on the edge of the box here. Hulk takes it, but it’s a disappointing one. Van der Sar makes the save and he doesn’t even have to move a muscle to do it.

57′ Giggs makes an ill-advised pass back to Van der Sar and his clearance gets blocked. It’s popped up in the box, and Evra and Mariano collide trying to get to it. Evra is called for the foul, and Porto will have a great free-kick opportunity. Evra is bleeding a little bit, but he looks okay.

56′ Giggs sends his corner into the center of the box for Ronaldo. He’s well marked, though, and Porto clear it away from danger.

55′ Meireles sends in a dangerous cross from the right flank to the far post where Mariano waits. He gets a head on it, but it lacks both pace and accuracy, and Van der Sar takes it easily. Rooney sends it to O’Shea down the right flank, and Cissokho concedes the corner.

54′ Giggs takes it and he sends it towards the far post. Helton is out and he collects it easily.

53′ Booming kick from Van der Sar and Ronaldo gets on the end of it. He starts his run towards the box, and he gets fouled by Cissokho. They’re about 35 yards out.

52′ Giggs sends a great pass into the center for Berbatov. He’s got room to run, but he can’t quite handle the pass. That could have been danger for Porto.

50′ Mariano gets it, but he slips as he tries to run into the box. Hulk then gets it and he tries a long-range shot, but he slips a little bit and his shot is well off target.

48′ Evra gives it away on the edge of the box and Meireles gets a chance. He sends a hard shot from the edge of the box, but it’s wide of the post. Evra has been terrible today.

46′ Porto kick off and we’re underway! It’s raining cats and dogs now, and I’m sure that will affect the quality of play on the pitch. Heck, you can probably bank on it, with the way players were slipping on the pitch in the first half. O’Shea casually shoves Cissokho off the ball, but no call. Meanwhile, quick United attack and Rooney sends it to Berbatov inside the box. He fires a shot, but it’s a comfortable save for Helton.

46′ By the way, I sold Ronaldo’s goal short. His distance has been officially measured at just under 40 yards. Ridiculous.

A much better effort from United have them on the verge of the Semifinals. Porto are still in this, though, and if anything, they showed just how dangerous they could be with a couple of near-misses in the first half. Rooney’s injury could loom large, especially if he has to come out at halftime. You can expect both sides to keep attacking, as United will want to get that second goal to put this one beyond doubt while Porto are now in the position of needing a score. Hopefully, that quality will make for an exciting second half.

45′ + 2 United with a final charge as O’Shea sends it to Rooney down the right. He tries to cross it to Giggs, who is in front of goal, but Helton cuts it out. There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime!

45′ + 2 Evra with another poor clearance and Lisandro gets a chance on the edge of the box. Carrick is with him, though, and Lisandro’s effort is a pretty tame one that Van der Sar easily takes.

45′ + 1 Is it in Ronaldo’s range? He certainly thinks so. He goes for goal, but it’s a poor effort that’s easily blocked.

45′ Two minutes will be added on. Berbatov wins a free kick from about 40 yards out or so as Sepunaru is adjudged to have brought him down.

44′ Ronaldo is tackled by Rodriguez on the edge of the box, but no foul. It’s out for a corner instead. Giggs sends it in and O’Shea flicks it to a diving Vidic, who misses a point-blank chance in front of goal. He tried to use his foot and he probably would have been better off using his head there. Will that miss make a difference?

43′ Poor effort from Meireles as he floats it into the box but he puts too much on it and it’s right into Van der Sar’s waiting arms.

42′ Vidic brings Rodriguez down on the edge of the box, and he’s booked.

41′ Meireles with a dangerous free kick from the left flank to the far post, and Alves gets a free header that’s just wide of the post. Van der Sar was easily beaten and he could only watch. Alves can’t believe he didn’t score there and United look like they dodged a bullet.

40′ Corner comes out to Carrick and he sends a shot from the edge of the box that strikes Vidic. Macheda would have scored there. 🙂

39′ Rooney is still laboring out there. Meanwhile, Rolando hits Berbatov with a late tackle. Still no cards from the ref. Helton gets caught as he comes out of the box. He and Ronaldo struggle for the ball, and Ronaldo wins a corner off him. Poor decision from the keeper there.

38′ Evra gives it away and Sepunaru sends a powerful shot from the edge of the box that’s wide of the mark. If Evra keeps playing like this, United fans will long for the days of Gabriel Heinze.

37′ Rooney makes a run into the box, and he gets tackled by Fernando. He’s limping a little bit, and that could be a disaster for United if he’s hurt.

35′ Arsenal are leading 1-0 on Theo Walcott’s 10th minute goal. As it stands right now, we’d get Arsenal/Man Utd. in the Semis.

34′ Anderson gets it down the left flank, but he slips and falls before he can get his cross off. Pan to the crowd and the fans are getting a good laugh at the former Porto man.

31′ Lucho’s day is done as Mariano, who scored the equalizer at Old Trafford, is on for him.

30′ Berbatov gets all kinds of room down the right as Porto’s defenders just back off for some reason. He sends a cross to the far post and it goes over a jumping Ronaldo but finds Giggs. He sends a hard shot on target, but Helton gets a touch on it. He can’t handle it cleanly, but he’s able to secure it before anyone in red can pounce on it.

28′ Now Lucho is on the pitch, crying out in pain. Looks like he slipped on the pitch as he was trying to kick the ball and his knee buckled. Not a good sign for Porto, especially since Costa is warming up on the touchline.

27′ Lucho sends a dangerous cross from the left flank to the far post where Lisandro is lurking. Van der Sar is out to collect it, though.

26′ Determined defending from United as they repel a Porto attack. It’s early, but United’s defense already looks better with Ferdinand back there.

25′ Great chance by Lisandro as he gets the ball with his back to the goal. He tries to Macheda it in, but it lacks pace and Van der Sar saves it. Lisandro wants a foul on Ferdinand, but he’s not going to get it.

24′ Hulk gets it deep down the left flank, but O’Shea does a good job closing him down. Rooney then comes over and sends it out for a Porto throw.

23′ Nasty late tackle from behind by Lucho on Berbatov as he’s about to break into space on the counterattack, but no foul, let alone a booking.

21′ Here’s my bright idea. With Ferreria serving a touchline ban, they should let Mourinho coach his old club for one game. Wouldn’t that be fun?

20′ Lisandro is fouled by Carrick and Porto will have a chance from about 35 yards out. Alves goes for goal, and he sends a hard, curling shot that’s wide of the post but had Van der Sar easily beaten. A yard or so to the right and that would have been in.

19′ Scholes is getting loose and Carrick’s day could be over. Rodriguez outmuscles Rooney for the ball and he sends it to Hulk on the edge of the United box. He’s got some room, but he gets wrong-footed, and Van der Sar kicks it away.

18′ They’re showing the Ronaldo shot again, and there’s nothing you can really say about it. What a great shot! Helton had no chance to stop it because it had so much pace and bend. Not many people would have been able to pull that off.

17′ Cissokho sends a cross from deep down the left, but Rooney is all over him like a bad suit. Van der Sar easily cuts it out and then boots it out of bounds as Carrick is down on the pitch, holding his foot.

15′ Giggs takes it short and Rooney eventually knocks it out over the touchline for a Porto throw.

14′ Anderson takes it away, and he leads the break. He’s got numbers around him, but he gives it away as his pass into Berbatov is short. Meanwhile, Lucho is called for a foul on Ronaldo, and United have a free kick from about 40 yards out.

13′ Rooney sends a cross from the right wing across the face of the goal, but it’s out for a throw.

12′ Carrick tries his luck from long-range, but it’s just wide of the post. Maybe they saw something on the tape that seemed to indicate that Helton can be vulnerable on long-range shots.

10′ O’Shea sends it into the box for Berbatov, who has his back to the goal. He tries to lay it back to O’Shea, but it’s a turnover.

9′ Lots of Man Utd. fans in the crowd as they’re singing Ronaldo’s praises right now. Anderson and Lucho collide and they’re both down on the pitch. They both shake it off, though, and that’s that.

7′ Well, that certainly changes the complexion of this match. How will Porto respond?

6′ GOAL! Anderson does well to track back and close down Rodriguez down the left flank. Back the other way as Ronaldo decides to take his chances from long range, and it beats Helton! He was a good 35 yards out and he still easily beat Helton to the top corner! What an absolute screamer of a shot!

4′ Hulk powers it into the box towards the goal, and Carrick looks like he gets a slight deflection on it. It could be trouble, but Van der Sar makes the save.

3′ Carrick with a sloppy giveaway in his own half as he gives it away to Lucho. Porto take it and win a free kick from about 40 yards out on the right wing as Evra commits the foul.

2′ Rooney sends in a cross from deep down the right wing, and it’s floated into the box towards Berbatov. The Porto defense knock it away from danger, though.

1′ United kick off and we’re underway! Massimo Busacca is our ref. He’s from Switzerland, so he’s bound to be neutral, right?

0′ The Chammmmmm-pionnnnnnns!

0′ Porto’s gaffer, Jesualdo Ferreira, is serving a touchline ban for having made a “gesture” at Howard Webb during his club’s Round-of-16 tie with Atletico Madrid. Well, I’m sure he’s not the first person to do that to Webb, and he won’t be the last.

0′ I’m sure we’ll be seeing this ad naseum, so let’s get this out of the way. Old Trafford, 2004: Phil Neville gives away a free kick in the 90th minute. Benny McCarthy takes the free kick and Tim Howard can’t hold on to it. He palms it right to a charging Costinha, and he puts it in for the goal. Cue Jose Mourinho’s mad dash down the sidelines. By the way, some of the luminaries on the United team that night? Eric Djemba-Djemba, Kleberson, David Bellion, and Diego Forlan.

0′ I’ll try and keep an eye on the Arsenal/Villarreal match. Arsenal have a patchwork back four today with Silvestre coming in for Gallas and pairing with Toure with Gibbs in for Clichy and Eboue in for Sagna. On the bright side, they have all their big guns in on offense, so it could get really interesting at the Emirates. Meanwhile, Pires will get the start for Villarreal against his former team.

0′ Porto’s style of counterattacking could really enhance their chances of going through to the next round. If they can sit back and frustrate Manchester United’s offense and then spring a couple of counterattacks with the likes of Hulk, Rodriguez, and Lisandro, then Manchester United’s beleaguered back four could be in a world of trouble. That’s why those 2 road goals are looming pretty large right now.

0′ The man on the spot will be Anderson. I was shocked when he got the nod against Liverpool, and he didn’t do much to justify his place on that day. He hasn’t played since, so I’m a little surprised that he got the start today. I know Anderson brings you toughness and industry, but he’s barely played. Why not go with Park, who seems to be in form, instead? Maybe he’s injured since he isn’t even on the bench. Will this be one of Sir Alex’s master-strokes? Or will this backfire on him like the time he started Veron instead of Beckham against Real Madrid?

0′ Very interesting team named by Sir Alex. I had thought he would go with Tevez and Berbatov up front with Rooney on the wing like he did over the weekend, but no dice.

0′ Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the UEFA Champions League clash between Manchester United and Porto! I’m Victor and I’ll be your live-blogger. I’m watching this match on ESPN. However, this match (as well as the Bayern Munich/Barcelona match) is available, on-line, at ESPN360. For information on how to access that fine service, feel free to consult this article. Click here for other, free, options.

Match Review:

Manchester United didn’t look great, but they have a lot to be happy about. They picked up a win on the road, where they’ve struggled all year, and in a stadium where no English team had ever won, no less. They finally kept a clean sheet, which they hadn’t done since the second-leg against Inter Milan. They looked better in the back as Ferdinand’s return to the lineup couldn’t have come at a better time (although Evra had more than his usual share of shaky moments). They didn’t generate too many chances on offense, and it took a wonderstrike from Ronaldo to seal the deal, but considering how they had been defending (or rather, not defending), it’s a minor miracle that his sixth-minute strike stood until the final whistle. Obviously, they still have some concerns, and Arsenal will be a handful for them in the Semifinals. However, they looked much better than they have in weeks, and this could be a sign that their dip in form was only temporary.

As for Porto, they did their best and they have nothing to be sorry about. They had the defending champions on the ropes, and considering how many people were overlooking them completely going into this round, they deserve to be proud of what they’ve accomplished. Fernando has definitely won some admirers, and he should be a hot prospect during the summer. Hulk was a bit of a disappointment, but if Porto can keep him with Lisandro and Rodriguez, then there’s no reason why Porto can’t make it back to the Quarterfinals next season. If so, then I doubt they’ll take anyone by surprise.

Man of the Match:

Cristiano Ronaldo

Even his (many, many, many) detractors will have nothing to say about his amazing goal in the sixth minute. It not only gave United a much needed boost, it seemed to have shocked Porto to the degree that the plucky challengers, who were feeling great about their chances and riding a tidal wave of momentum coming into this match, never recovered. Ronaldo generated several other chances, and combined with Berbatov and Rooney to keep pressure on Porto’s goal. Ferdinand’s return seemed to have boosted Vidic’s confidence, and the two of them seemed to be on the same page for most of the match. As for Porto, Fernando was quieter in this match than he was at Old Trafford. However, he still did a good job in midfield and really put the shackles on Carrick. Meireles also played well, distributing crosses and generating numerous chances for his teammates.

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