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european competitions - 2003/04

footballportugal

Champions League

Final

26/05/04 FC Porto 3-0 AS Mónaco (Carlos Alberto, Deco, Alenitchev)

FC Porto Champions!

Semi Finals

21/04/04 FC Porto 0-0 Deportivo la Coruña
04/05/04 Deportivo la Coruña 0-1 FC Porto
(Derlei, pen)
(agg: 0-1 - FC Porto go through to the Final)

Quarter Finals

23/03/04 FC Porto 2-0 Olympique Lyonnais (Deco, Ricardo Carvalho)
07/04/04
Olympique Lyonnais 2-2 FC Porto (Maniche 2)
(agg: 2-4 - FC Porto go through to the semi-finals)

Last 16

25/02/04 FC Porto 2-1 Manchester United (McCarthy 2)
09/03/04 Manchester United
1-1 FC Porto (Costinha)
(agg: 2-3 - FC Porto go through to the quarter finals)

Group F

09/12/03 Real Madrid 1-1 FC Porto (Derlei)
26/11/03 FC Porto 2-1 Partizan Belgrade (McCarthy 2)
04/11/03
FC Porto 1-0 Marseilles (Alenitchev)
22/10/03 Marseilles
2-3 FC Porto (Maniche, Derlei, Alenitchev)
01/10/03
FC Porto 1-3 Real Madrid (Costinha)
16/09/03 Partizan Belgrade
1-1 FC Porto (Costinha)

 

Group F (as at 26/11/03)

 

p

w

d

l

f

a

pts

1

Real Madrid

6

4

2

0

11

5

14

2

FC Porto

6

3

2

1

9

8

11

3

Marseilles

6

1

2

4

9

11

4

4

Partizan

6

0

3

3

3

8

3

 

Third Qualifying Round

14/08/03 Lázio 3-1 Benfica (Simão)
27/08/03
Benfica 0-1 Lázio
(Lázio go through to the Champions League Group phase.
Benfica go to the UEFA Cup)

UEFA Cup

Fourth Round

11/03/04 Benfica 0-0 Inter Milan
25/03/04
Inter Milan 4-3 Benfica
(Nuno Gomes 2, Tiago)
(Inter go through)

Third Round

26/02/04 Benfica 1-0 Rosenborg (Zahovic)
03/03/04 Rosenborg
2-1 Benfica (Nuno Gomes)
(Benfica go through on away goals)

Second Round

06/11/03 Benfica 3-1 Molde (Norway) (Nuno Gomes 2, Geovanni)
27/11/03 Molde
0-2 Benfica (Tiago 2)
(Benfica go through)

27/11/03 Sporting 0-3 Gençlerbirligi
06/11/03 Gençlerbirligi (Turkey)
1-1 Sporting (Liedson)
(Gençlerbirligi go through)

First Round Proper

15/10/03 Molde (Norway) 3-1 União de Leiria (Maciel)
24/09/03
União de Leiria 1-0 Molde (Norway) (Caíco)
(Molde go through)

15/10/03 Benfica 1-0 La Louviére (Fehér)
24/09/03 La Louviére (Belgium)
1-1 Benfica (Simão)
(Benfica go through)

15/10/03 Malmö (Sweden) 0-1 Sporting (Liedson)
24/09/03
Sporting 2-0 Malmö (Sweden) (Lourenço, Liedson)
(Sporting go through).

Qualifying Round

15/08/03 Coleraine 2-1 União de Leiria (João Manuel)
28/08/03
União de Leiria 5-0 Coleraine (Ludemar 2, Edson 2, Caíco)
(União de Leiria go through to the UEFA Cup proper)

European SuperCup

29/08/03 FC Porto 0-1 AC Milan

 

27/05/02

FC Porto were crowned European Champions Wednesday after a 3-0 win over AS Mónaco. A first half goal from Carlos Alberto and one each from Deco and Alenitchev in the second killed off a difficult Mónaco side. (see match report)

FC Porto's midfield 'Magician' Deco was named Man of the Match by UEFA (footballportugal's MOM was central defender Ricardo Carvalho )

Reactions to FC Porto's CL Final triumph:

José Mourinho: "We were confident that things would go well ... Firstly, I want to dedicate this victory to my family and to all those that like me and that have helped me throughout the season ... We've won the two most important trophies in Europe and two championships ... we the most important Portuguese club of modern times ... I have a contract with FC Porto, but I'll have to speak to the president first and tell him I wish to leave."

Durão Barroso: (Portuguese Prime Minister): "FC Porto deserved to win. I was very happy thinking about the happiness of the Portuguese spread around the world. I think the victory was down to attitude, discipline and concetration."

Goalkeeper Vítor Baía: "I'm very happy. It's great triumphs like this that make a career. I'm very proud to see that all the work done over the season ended up being compensated ... Now lets carry on the excellent work done in the these last two years and continue on the road to victories."

Derlei:
"All the Portuguese should be proud of this victory because it's the Portuguese flag at the top of the pole."

Deco:
" The game was over after my goal [the second]. Things got easier. It's a unique sensation ... We knew the team had quality, but we didn't believe at the beginning that we could win the Champions League."

Jorge Costa (captain):
Dreaming is good for you, and this is one of the best dreams - winning the UEFA cup and the Champions League in consecutive seasons. we couldn't have done any better. Now it's time to savour the victory.

Paulo Ferreira:
"I think I had a great season, so di the othe rplayers, coaching staff and directors. I didn't think we'd come this far, although I knew we'd go far. We're to be congratulated."

Carlos Alberto:
"I have to thank God and my family, who have always supported me since the beginning and allowed me to get this far ... I've been treated realyl well in this new home."

26/05/04

FC Porto had their last training session Tuesday ahead of the Final of the Champions League Wednesday. It was a light affair, and there were no clues as to the starting line up, although it should look something like this:

Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Pedro Mendes (or Alenitchev), Deco, Carlos Alberto (or McCarthy) and Derlei

Deco and Costinha have been named by UEFA in the team of best players in this season's edition of the Champions League, as has Jorge Andrade of Deportivo. The full list is:
Molina (Coruña), Evra (Mónaco), Hinkel (Stuttgart), Jorge Andrade (Coruña), John Terry (Chelsea), Costinha (FC Porto), Robert Pires (Arsenal), Juninho Pernambucano (Lyon), Deco (FC Porto), Morientes (Mónaco), Thierry Henry (Arsenal).

Benfica will not be seeded in the third preliminary round of next seasons Champions League and may have to face teams like Corunha, Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter, Manchester United, Liverpool or Bayer Leverkusen.

24/05/04

FC Porto have a light training session in Porto Monday before travelling to Gelsenkirchen for the Champions League Final against Mónaco on Wedensday. Coach José Mourinho will take the following players:

Goalkeepers (Guarda-redes): Vítor Baía and Nuno;
Defenders (Defesas): Paulo Ferreira, Secretário, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Pedro Emanuel, Ricardo Costa and Nuno Valente;
Midfielders (Médios): Costinha, Bosingwa, Pedro Mendes, Ricardo Fernandes, Maniche, Deco, Alenitchev and Carlos Alberto;
Strikers (Avançados): Derlei, Jankauskas an McCarthy.

Out are full-back Mário Silva, and wingers Marco Ferreira and Césra Peixoto (option) and Maciel and Sérgio Conceição (cup-tied)

19/05/04

The tickets that FC Porto put on sale for the Final of the Champions League between FC Porto and Mónaco sold out in a matter of hours Tuesday. The club made available just 3,300 of their 14,000 allocation. Over 1,500 fans camped out for the night to be sure of a ticket.

06/05/04

FC Porto will meet Mónaco in the final of the Champions League on May 26th. The French side drew 2-2 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but go through 5-3 on aggregate.

Portistas throughout the country, but especially in Porto, were nursing headaches Wednesday as the celebrating carried on deep into the night. Commentators were overwhelmingly ecstatic over the result and the way it was obtained. The biggest circulation sports daily A Bola, for the first time in living memory, had no news whatsoever about Benfica on its front page.'

The headline for A Bola's match report also said it all: "The perfect night of eleven enormous ice cubes."

Coach José Mourinho was not suprisingly thrilled by the result, although he was controlling himself well: "Before the game, I told them there were two objectives: to dominate the game, and if that didn't work, to control the game. We dominated for long stretches and sometimes controlled. We were never dominated ... Everything worked perfectly. It's great for a coach to know that he's listened to, especially when the interpretation is impeccable ... The players were prepared for anything. All it needed was a snap of the fingers and the team would know how to position themselves ... FC Porto were really the better team ... Our campaign has been brilliant. We lost only one game, against Real Madrid, and that was unjust ... Whatever happens in Gelsenkirchen ... this team, these players, will go down as some of the most significant in Portuguese football ... I'd like the whole country to feel happy at this moment ... I haven't come down from heaven yet."

Asked about a possible contract with Chelsea, Mourinho said: "I'm concentrating on Porto and my work. I'm going to Chelsea tomorrow ... but as an enemy. I'm a professional and I want to win the final."
(see guest writers)

05/05/04

In a pulsating Champions League semi-final second leg in the Riazor Stadium in Coruña, a magnificent FC Porto beat Deportivo 1-0 with a penalty from Derlei, only recently back from prolonged injury, to go through to the Final (1-0 on aggregate) on 26 May in Gelsenkirchen, Germany (see match report). Porto must wait until Wednesday evening to find their opponents: either Mónaco or Chelsea.

Drawing a comparison with what happens in Spain, coach José Mourinho called on all Portuguese to now support them into the Final.

The streets of Porto, especially the traditional meeting point for such celebrations, Os Aliados, filled up almost as soon as the final whistle went.

Porto can now win the treble (League, Domestic Cup and Champions League) for the second time in two seasons (They won the UEFA Cup last season). They meet Benfica in the final of the Taça de Portugal on May 16, ten days before Gelsenkirchen.

04/05/04

FC Porto are in Coruña and have trained ahead of their Champions League semi-final second leg against Deportivo. The first leg was drawn 0-0. Porto coach José Mourinho has predicted a much more open game than the first leg. Porto should line up (according to sports daily A Bola):

Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Alenitchev, Deco, Carlos Alberto (or Derlei), McCarthy

23/04/04

FC Porto coach José Mourinho has said that he will call up Brazilian forward Derlei to the squad for the return leg of the Champions League semi-final in Coruña on May 4th. Derlei suffered a knee injury in a SuperLiga game at Alverca earlier in the season.

22/04/04

FC Porto drew 0-0 at home with Deportivo La Coruña Wednesday in the first leg of the semi-final of the Champions League. The game was characterised by a disjointed performance from Porto, forced by Depor's spoiling game, and a weak, bordering on negligent, display from German referee Markus Merk.

There was little coherent attacking play by either side, but the best chances fell to Porto, notably a chip on the hour from Maniche that hit the bar, following a sublime dummy from McCarthy, and a header by Jankauskas that sailed just wide.

The referee capped a dismal night on 80 minutes with the sending-off of Jorge Andrade for a playful tap on Deco's back after the Porto midfielder had fallen. "He's my friend! He's my friend!" Andrade repeated incredulously as Merk fumbled to get the red card out, and the Depor central defender was applauded off the pitch by the Porto fans. Depor will also be without Mauro Silva for the second leg for accumulation of yellows, and possibly Luque, injured on the night.

FC Porto lined up:
Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha (Pedro Mendes), Maniche, Deco, Alenitchev (Jankauskas), Carlos Alberto, McCarthy (Marco Ferreira).

Porto coach José Mourinho was highly critical of the referee: "If there's normal refereeing in the second leg, I think this result is not a bad one - but if it's like this, then we'll probably say goodbye to the Champions League ... In ten or twelve years of European football, I've never seen a referee like this. At the end I asked him 'Why?', but he didn't answer, and that's probably for the best because I want to be on th bench in Coruña ... It was a weak game because the referee wanted it that way ... Depor came looking for a result, played negative football, wasted time and simulated injury after injury. But I can't criticise their options because maybe they left here with the result they wanted ... I also admit that some of my players were phased by the importance of the game, so they couldn't get hold of the game and show their ability."

It's not the result Porto wanted, but with no away goals conceded, it leaves them with every chance of getting a positive aggregate result in the second leg.

21/04/04

FC Porto's Champions League semi-final first leg against Deportiva la Coruña is a sell-out, the final tickets of the 52,000 capacity snapped up on Tuesday.

08/04/04

FC Porto were the only team that fulfilled the promise of the quarter-final first legs to go through to the semi-finals of the Champions League Wednesday. Real Madrid, Arsenal and AC Milan all crashed out to 'underdogs', but FC Porto confirmed that they are currently a real force in European football with a 2-2 draw (aggregate 4-2) at Olympique de Lyon .

Midfielder Maniche got an early strike for Porto on six minutes, making it an uphill struggle for Olympique - they would need four goals to go through - but given the other results in these quarter-finals, Porto were warned that this wasn't an impossible task, and Lyon came back bravely, Luyindula equalising on the night on 14 minutes. Porto were under the cosh in the first half, but lax finishing and stout defending kept the French out. Then a minute into the second half, Maniche got his second to more or less clinch the tie, and it was a carbon copy of the first goal: a low cross from the left by Deco, with Maniche meeting the ball at the far post to drive it into the roof of the net. Elber managed an equaliser on the stroke of time, but Lyon had long given up the ghost against a Porto side that found themselves again in the second half.

Porto lined up:
Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Alenitchev, Deco (Pedro Mendes, 75m), Carlos Alberto (Pedro Emanuel, 46m), McCarthy (Jankauskas, 56 m)

Coach José Mourinho recognised the problems that his team had, however: "I think that in the first half we had difficulties that we hadn't experienced up until now , even in the game that we lost. They risked everything. They started very much on the offensive, but also well organised, controlling the game, and we had difficulties . .. In the second half, we were the team we normally are, solid, calm, serene. The second goal finished the tie off and then it was just a question of managing the result."

Porto will now play Deportivo la Coruña of Spain, who put a sensational four goals past AC Milan without reply to win the tie 5-4. The first leg of the semi will be on April 21st in Porto.

Mourinho again: "It's obvious that Deportivo are not an easy opponent ... If I'm not mistaken, they're the only Spanish team to be in all the editions of the Champions League in the present format. They've got a lot of experience and good players ... A team that beats Milan in the epic way they did has enough motivation and energy to want to get to the final."

07/04/04

FC Porto had a training session at the Stade Gerland Tuesday ahead of the return leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Lyon Wednesday.

South African striker Benni McCarthy, with muscular problems, is in doubt. Midfielder Maniche has recovered from a knock and will start.

According to French sports daily L'Équipe, Lyon have statistically just a 17% chance of beating FC Porto and going through to the semi-finals. FC Porto coach José Mourinho said: "I'm optimistic. We're winning 2-0 [from the first leg in Porto]. The confidence is not just down to the result - it's also because of the quality of the players."

Rio Ave, currently sixth in the SuperLiga, a position that would normally give them a place in the UEFA Cup next season, will not be able to play in the competition even if they maintain that position because of a hitch in registration betweeen the club, the FPF and UEFA.

27/03/04

Benfica crashed out of the UEFA Cup Thursday in Milan (see match report). The Águias scored three, but Inter got four and go through to play Marseilles in the quarter-finals.

23/03/04

FC Porto put in a mature European performance against Lyon Tuesday to give themselves a terrific chance of making it through to the semi-finals of the Champions League. Porto coach José Mourinho had warned before the game that Lyon would be no soft touch, and so it proved. Porto had most of the possession in the first half, but Lyon were always dangerous on the break. Porto needed all the patience in the world to keep at their methodical build-up play, but they managed it and their patience was rewarded just before the break. Carlos Alberto swung a cross from the right to the back post, McCarthy hit it back goalwards and Deco was on hand to knock the ball in from close range.

The second half was more of the same, except that Lyon, understandably, were pushing up more. Then on 71 minutes, just as Lyon were piling on the pressure, Porto got another: Deco knocked over a radar-guided free-kick from the right and central defender Ricardo Carvalho lost his marker to head simply in.

A 2-0 scoreline is excellent for Porto, especially since Lyon failed to score an away goal. But on this evidence, the French side are far from out of it and must be regarded with suspicion for the second leg on April 7th.

The teams lined up:
FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Pedro Emanuel, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha (Bosingwa), Alenitchev (Ricardo Fernandes), Deco, Maniche, Carlos Alberto (Jankauskas), McCarthy.

Lyon: Coupet, Deflandre (Reveillère), Edmilson, Muller, Malouda, Diarra, Essien, Govou, Juninho Pernambucano (Dhorasoo), Luyndula, Elber.

20/04/03

After tests, it seems that Benfica midfielder Petit may yet be available for Thursday's UEFA cup tie at Inter Milan. Petit pulled a thigh muscle in midweek in the Cup match against Belenenses.

18/03/04

Benfica had some good news and some bad news Wednesday ahead of their UEFA Cup return leg at Inter Milan on March 25th. The good news was that Inter's central defender Fabio Cannavaro has a thigh injury that will keep him out of the game. The bad news was that Benfica's midfield dynamo Petit contracted a similar injury in the Taça de Portugal semi-final against Belenenses and will be out for three weeks, also missing the tie.

13/03/04

FC Porto (15/2) are fourth favourites to win the Champions League, according to British bookmakers, behind favourites Real Madrid (5/2), AC Milan and Arsenal. FC Porto were 50/1 at the beginning of the competition.

12/03/04

Friday's draw in Nyon, Switzerland dictated that FC Porto will play Olympique Lyonnais in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The first leg will be at the Estádio do Dragão on March 23rd, the return on April 7th. If FC Porto get through, they will face either AC Milan or Deportivo La Corunha in the semi-finals.

Benfica put in their best performance of the season Thursday, but a combination of poor finishing, bad luck and the presence of the outstanding Toldo in the Inter Milan goal meant that they could only manage a 0-0 home draw with the Italian giants in the first leg of their fourth round UEFA Cup tie. Benfica's approach play was calm but objective, and Armando, Ricardo Rocha, Petit and Sokota all had prime opportunities to give Benfica some kind of cushion going into the return leg, but there, always, was Toldo, accompanied by some kind of charm on his goal. As for Inter, they proved on this performance to be a very accessible side, and at least Benfica didn't concede an away goal, which leaves them in with a realistic chance of going through to the quarter finals.

11/03/04

Benfica will be without striker Nuno Gomes (suspended), full-back Fyssas (cup-tied) and central defender Argel (injured) for the UEFA Cup match against Inter Milan at the New Luz Thursday. The full squad is:

Goalkeepers: Moreira, Bossio, Zack Thorton.
Defenders: Miguel, Armando, Hélder, Ricardo Rocha, Luisão, Cristiano.
Midfielders: Petit, Fernando Aguiar, Zahovic, Tiago, Manuel Fernandes, Alex, Hélio Pinto.
Forwards: Simão, Sokota, João Pereira, Geovanni, João Vilela

Benfica coach José Camacho said Wednesday that his team needed to play "very serenely and with a lot of patience," because there was another game to play in Milan, where the tie will probably be decided.

FC Porto hero Costinha, scorer of the goal that took his team through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, spoke Wednesday to the official FC Porto website about the game:

"I'm naturally really happy ... but it's strange that I managed to score, because I wasn't even supposed to be in that position. I should have been with Pedro Emanuel in the wall to try to open a space, but then I remembered the goal I scored against Real Madrid in the Antas. I was lucky to be in the right place ... We were the target of a lot of criticism ... but we're not cheats, and we proved that we can play football ... I feel really satisfied when I see how happy the fans are - they were fantastic! - they helped us to clear the negative image of us that the English created ... We were always calm, even when we conceded the goal - we kept our cool ... We're bound to meet a strong team next, but the next round is a long way off - we have important games in the SuperLiga and the Taça, and we want to win them."

10/03/04

FC Porto are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after snatching a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford Tuesday (see match report). They had brought a 2-1 win from the first leg in Porto, but looked down and out, trailing as they were by a first half goal from Scholes. That was until a minute from time when Costinha netted and sent the 3,500 travelling fans into raptures. It was the first time Manchester United had conceded a goal in the Champions League this season, and it proved lethal to the English club's Champions League aspirations.

Coach José Mourinho, who clearly won the pre-match psychological battle with Alex Ferguson and who went on a dance down the touchline when Costinha scored, was perhaps not surprisingly thrilled: "After what we did last year [UEFA Cup] and what we're doing this season, in which we haven't lost any Champions League game away from home, no one can have any doubts that we're an extremely strong team. I'm not saying we're candidates for the Champions League title, but it's undeniable that we go into the next round with even more zest and motivation". Asked to choose, if he could, an oppenent for the quarter-finals, he was quite clear: "I wouldn't want an English team, and I'd prefer to face the winners of the Mónaco v Lokomotiv tie .... but with these players, then any big team and a big stadium." He also paid tribute to the fantastic support the team received from the Portistas in the crowd: "It's not normal for there to be so many FCP fans here .. but that's fruit of belief , and it's us who have built that up."

08/03/04

FC Porto are in Manchester already ahead of Tuesday night's crunch Champions League last 16 second leg with United. Coach José Mourinho called up all available players for the trip:
Goalkeepers: Vítor Baía, Nuno.
Defender: Secretário, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Ricardo Costa, Pedro Emanuel, Nuno Valente, Mário Silva.
Midfielders: Costinha, Deco, Maniche, Bosingwa, Alenitchev, Ricardo Fernandes, Carlos Alberto.
Forwards: Bruno Moraes, Benni McCarthy, Jankauskas.

President Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa was in confident mood, predicting a 1-0 win for Porto: "If we play like we did at the Estádio do Dragão, anything is on the cards ..."

06/03/04

FC Porto have only one apparent injury to their squad ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game at Old Trafford against Manchester United. In-form midfielder Pedro Mendes fell awkwardly during the game against Belenenses Friday (4-1), pulled a thigh muscle and is very doubtful for Manchester. FC Porto lined up on the night:

Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira (Nuno Valente, 66 m), Jorge Costa, Pedro Emanuel, Ricardo Costa, Deco, Costinha, Pedro Mendes (Maniche, 17 m), Sérgio Conceição, McCarthy (Jankauskas, 55 m), Maciel.

Players that are not likely to start at Old Trafford are Pedro Emanuel (Ricardo Carvalho?) and Ricardo Costa (Nuno Valente?), neither regulars. Maciel (Carlos Alberto?) and Sérgio Conceição (Alenitchev?) are cup-tied.

05/03/04

Benfica got Inter Milan in Thursday's draw for the last sixteen of the UEFA Cup. The draw dictated that Benifca would travel to Milan for the first leg on March 11th, but because AC Milan will be playing on the previous night at the San Siro, the order of legs has been changed.

Benfica have met InterMilan once before, in the final of the European Cup in 1965, where they lost 1-0. The last time they played an Italian team was earlier in the season agaisnt Lázio in the Champions League, but they lost bothe times, 1-3 and 0-1. One piece of good news for Benfica is that Christian Vieri may miss both matches through suspension after being sent off on Wednesday against Sochaux.

Benfica's striker Nuno Gomes, sent off on Wednesday for faking a foul in the Rosenborg's penalty area, is not to be disciplined by the club. Benfica are very short of strikers: Sokota is invariably injured, Mantorras has been out all season and Fehér, of course, died.

Manchester United will be without defender Quinton Fortune (injured) and captain Roy Keane (suspended) for next week's Champions League return leg against FC Porto at Old Trafford.

04/03/04

Benfica put in an ultimately heroic performance in chilly Trondheim Wednesday to secure a place in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup against Rosenborg (see match reports). The draw for the next round is on Thursday.

28/02/04

The reports in the Portuguese press about the security and organisation of the FC Porto match against Manchester United Wednesday were generally positive, except for some confusion in terms of access (traffic around the stadium and movement inside - the FPF president Gilberto Madaíl complained that it had taken him 40 minutes to find his seat). As for trouble with the visiting fans (about 3,000 in total at the game), only minor incidents were reported and a couple of arrests. From the point of view of some of the Manchester United fans, however, treatment of them by police and stewards left a lot to be desired (see this forum)

27/02/04

Benfica beat Rosenborg of Norway in the Third Round first leg of the UEFA Cup Thursday, but their performance was never really convincing, and the margin (1-0) will not let them sleep soundly ahead of next week's return. The Lisbon club were very tentative in their approach play, and had a very solid rearguard in front of them, so chances were kept to a minimum, and it was only with the entrance of young winger João Perreira at half time in the place of Geovanni that gave Benfica enough of a boost of dynamism to actually break the deadlock; on the hour, he cut in from the right and squared the ball to Nuno Gomes, and his lay off was cracked home by Zahovic from the edge of the area.

It was important that Benfica didn't concede any goals at home, but this was rarely on the cards, and when it was, Moreira was up to the task. Benfica will now be hoping that the one goal is enough, and may be helped by the fact thatRosenborg are just entering their season. Benfica lined up:

BENFICA: Moreira, Miguel, Argel, Ricardo Rocha, Armando, Petit, Tiago, Geovanni (João Pereira, 46 m), Zahovic (Manuel Fernandes, 73 m), Simão, Nuno Gomes (Alex, 89 m).

26/02/04

FC Porto put in a superb performance Wednesday to make the mighty Manchester United look very ordinary indeed. Down by a goal, they came back and could have gone to Manchester in two weeks' time with an historic score in the bag. All the goals were from South Africa. Quinton Fortune got the first, knocking in a loose ball from a free, and Benni McCarthy, with one in each half, left the final score at a mouth-watering 2-1 and all open for the second leg (see match reports). In that game, Manchester United will be without captain Roy Keane, sent off in the dying minutes for stomping on Vítor Baía as the ´keeper went down to collect a through ball. They will need to crank their game up several notches if they are to live with FC Porto on this kind of form.

Porto coach José Mourinho was glowing after the game: "I couldn't be more proud ... but I'm disappointed - we could have finished them off here."

25/02/04

Around 1,400 Manchester United fans are in Oporto ahead of their team's Champions League game against FC Porto Wednesday, accompanied by 400 police officers. Two fans were arrested Tuesday for fighting between themselves.

Porto coach José Mourinho has a headache to choose a starting lineup to resemble those that have taken the club clear top of the SuperLiga, to the semi-finals of the Taça de Portugal and into the last 16 of the Champions League. He cannot play Derlei, César Peixoto or Marco Ferreira, all injured, Costinha, suspended, and Sérgio Conceição and Maciel, cup-tied. In addition, there are doubts over the fitness of midfielders Maniche and Alenitchev.

"A 0-0 draw would allow us to go to the second leg with a chance," he said. "We're going to approach the game differently from the norm, but never defensively or letting the opposition dominate. We don't have fast players for the counter-attack, but we're going to take advantage of our qualities to dominate and control the game, pressurising forward and not letting them get to our area, where they're very strong ... The Champions League isn't made for Portuguese teams to win it, because the others have very different potential. But that doesn't take away the obligation to do things well and go as far as possible ..."

Manchester United striker Van Nistelrooy was wary: "We have a lot of respect for FC Porto, and we don't feel we're favourites."

In the four meetings between the two teams, Porto have won one, drawn one and lost two, with six goals for, nine against.

14/02/04

There are just three thousand tickets remaining for the FC Porto v Manchster United Champions League game on February 25th. These will be on sale to club members only over the weekend and any left will go on sale to the general public on Monday. The tickets will only be sold at the stadium (Estádio do Dragão), and each buyer, entitled to a maximum of four, will have to complete a form.

06/02/04

UEFA have decided to hold the 2005 UEFA Cup Final in Sporting's Alvalade XXI stadium. Benfica and FC Porto were also candidates, but because Porto's Estádio do Dragão will host the opening game of Euro 2004, and Benfica's Luz the Final, UEFA have decided to plump for Alvalade. The last time a European final was held in Portugal in 1992. It was the then Cup Winner's Cup Final between Werder Bremen and Mónaco (2-0), but only around 18,000 were at the old 120 ,000-capacity Luz. In 1967, a famous European Cup victory by Celtic over Inter Milan (2-1) took place at the Estádio Nacional on the outskirts of Lisbon.

24/01/04

FC Porto announced Friday the procedure for buying tickets for the upcoming Champions League match against Manchester United. The first leg of the tie will be at the new Estádio do Dragão on February 25th. Between January 26th and February 11th, tickets will only be available to FC Porto club members and will be available on-line and at the stadium. From 12th February on, the tickets will be available for all-comers. Non-members will have to complete an application form for tickets at the moment of purchase. Season-ticket-holders of seats in the new stadium will have a 50% discount on tickets, the prices of which will range from 10 to 100 euros. Manchester United have been allocated 3,500 seats, the prices of which are 60 and 90 euros. (Full information, in Portuguese)

12/12/03 (II)

FC Porto will play the mighty Manchester United in the first knockout round of the Champions League, first at home on February 25th. The return leg at Old Trafford will be on March 9th. Coach José Mourinho was pleased with the draw and told journalists: "I know you're going to ask me the same old question about our chances, so I'll go for 50/50 - I think we have a chance to get past any team."

Benfica will face Rosenborg of Norway in the Third Round of the Uefa Cup, first at home. The two legs will be on February 26th and March 3rd. Coach José Camacho was cautious: "Rosenborg were seeded for a reason, and they've been in Europe for the last ten years."

12/12/03

The draw for the last 32 of the UEFA Cup takes place on Friday, and the only Portuguese club left in the competition, Benfica, will have to face one of the following: FC Bruges (Bel), Celtic (Scot), Marseilles (Fra), Panathinaikos (Gre), Inter Milan (Ita), PSV Eindhoven (Holl), Besiktas (Tur), Galatasaray (Tur), Barcelona (Sp), Mallorca (Sp), Rosenborg (Nor), AS Roma (Ita), Parma (Ita), Liverpool (Eng), Newcastle (Eng), Bordeaux (Fra)

11/12/03

The draw for the next round of the Champions League takes place on Friday and FC Porto now know who they might be up against after the Group phase was concluded Wednesday. As Porto finished second behind Real Madrid in their group, they will face the top team from one of the other groups: Lyon, Arsenal, Monaco, Juventus, Manchester United, Chelsea or AC Milan. They will no doubt be hoping for Lyon or Monaco, theoretically the most accessible of those teams.

10/12/03

FC Porto squeezed a draw out of depleted Real Madrid Tuesday in the final game of Group F. Both sides had already qualified for the last 16, so the game meant more about pride and the prize money than anything else. It was a good, lively game considering the lack of decisiveness of it and the appalling condition of the rain-sodden pitch. Real started the stronger of the two teams, their intricate midfield passing seemingly hypnotising Porto. It was during this phase that they got their goal, Luís Figo putting Solari through to slot the ball past Baía. But to their credit, Porto battled back and, despite a scare when Real netted through an offside Figo, they slowly but surely came to shade it in midfield. On 34, Deco was tripped by Michel Salgado and Derlei hit the penalty high into the roof of the net. The second half had Porto once again with the upper hand, and Derlei and Bosingwa both came close, but in the dying minutes Real also had their chances, notably through Solari again.

Real finish top of the group, Porto second. Marseilles drew 1-1 at Partizan Belgrade and qualify for the UEFA Cup, Partizan finishing bottom.

28/11/03

Sporting were whistled off the pitch by 28,000 irate home fans Thursday after an appalling 0-3 collapse at the hands of Turkish side Gençlerbirligi in the UEFA Cup 2nd round, second leg. Sporting had brought a 1-1 draw back from Ankara, but neither their so-called defence nor their attack, which had several clear chances to score, were on song, and so the club crashes out of the UEFA Cup to a team that is mid-table in the Turkish First Division. Tandogan and Mário Sérgio (O.G.) just before the break, and Cihan just after it, struck the fatal blows to Sporting's aspirations.

Earlier in the evening, Benfica became the only remaining Portuguese team left in the competition when they comfortably beat Molde 2-0 in Norawy, wining the tie 5-1 on aggregate. Portuguese international midfielder Tiago was the hero of the night with two goals.

27/11/03

FC Porto cruised into the last 16 of the Champions League Wednesday with a comfortable 2-1 win over Partizan Belgrade, Benni McCarthy getting both Porto goals on 25 and 50 minutes. Delibasic got a consolation for Partizan in the closing minutes. Porto qualify from Group F along with Real Madrid, who also won 2-1, at Marseilles.

Porto lined up:
Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Mário Silva, Maniche, Costinha, Deco, Bosingwa (Pedro Mendes, 46 m), McCarthy (Hugo Almeida, 67m), Derlei (Jankauskas, 79 m).

07/11/03

Benfica did their shakey self-esteem a power of good Thursday with a 3-1 win over Molde of Norway in the UEFA Cup. Nuno Gomes put the Eagles in front on 19 minutes, and the same player scored the third on 52, after he had laid off a ball for Geovanni for the second on 50. The first quarter of an hour of the second half was the crunch, with Benfica piling on the pressure, but then they took their foot off the pedal and allowed a very ordinary Molde side back in it, Hestad on 77 giving them a glimmer of hope for the away leg in three weeks' time, but barring a disaster, the lead should be enough for Benfica to go through.

Benfica's Lisbon neighbours Sporting managed a good result, too, 1-1 at Gençlerbirligi of Turkey. Ricardo saved a penalty in the first half, and Liedson got Sporting's goal five minutes into the second half, but Cihan equalised five minutes later. The away goal will be priceless for Alvalade, though.

05/11/03

FC Porto took a giant step towards the last 16 of the Champions League Tuesday with a hard fought 1-0 win at home to Marseilles. Alenitchev, replacing the suspended Deco, got the only goal of the game on 21 minutes, screwing a cross-cum-shot over the head of 'keeper Runje, with McCarthy following up just in case . Porto could not reproduce the excellent display of two weeks ago in Marseilles, but they did just enough to hold on, despite a scare with the last kick of the match, Drogba hitting the bar from a dead ball situation. "I'm convinced that my team, by the way they play and mainly by the way they address and think games, can qualify," said coach José Mourinho after the match.

Real Madrid went through after reaching ten points with a 0-0 draw at Partizan Belgrade. Porto are second in Group F on seven points, with Marseilles on three and Partizan on two.

23/10/03

FC Porto put in a superb performance Wednesday to stun Marseilles (2-3) on their own turf and jump to second in Group F of the Champions League behind Real Madrid, who beat Partizan 1-0. Porto came out confidently with all guns blazing, knocking Marseilles off their balance, but it was the French side who went in front, Drogba taking advantage of indecision in the centre of the Porto defence to stride through and poke the ball past Baía. Portuguese sides have a reputation for folding, but this Porto is a different animal under astute coach José Mourinho, and they came back with two goals in the space of three minutes, both involving the brilliant Derlei . On the half hour, he laid the ball off for Maniche in a delightful one-two on the edge of the box, and the midfielder struck a sweet shot past Runje. Then on 33, the Brazilian made room for himself and turned to shoot in from 25 metres.

Porto were a little more cagey in the second half, but extended their lead ten minutes from time, Deco cutting in from the right to feed sub Alenichev who coolly placed his shot to the left of Runje. Marlet made the run-in a nervous affair for Porto when he reduced the difference on 83, but the Portuguese side held on for a vital three points.

FC Porto lined up:
Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Deco, Marco Ferreira (Alenichev, 73 m), Derlei (Jankauskas, 87 m), César Peixoto (Bosingwa, 64 m)

18/10/03

Benfica will face Molde of Norway (home/away) and Sporting Gençlerbirligi of Turkey (away/home) in the second round of the UEFA Cup, drawn Friday. Molde knocked out União de Leiria in the first round. Gençlerbirligi are currently mid-table in the Turkish first division, but knocked out Blackburn in the last round. The legs will be on November 6th and 27th.

16/10/03

Two through, one out - that's the upshot of Portuguese involvement in the UEFA Cup first-round second-legs Wednesday.

União de Leiria were first up, defending a 1-0 lead from the first leg in Leiria in Norway against Molde. Leiria were looking good, and 'scored' early on through Caíco, but the effort was ruled out for off-side. Hoseth put the tie all square on 35, and five minutes into the second half went 2-0 up and ahead on aggregate through Hestad . But UDL managed to turn the game on its head just five minutes later, Maciel taking advantage of a rebound from the 'keeper to score. This would have put UDL through on away goals, but a penalty awarded to Molde, much contested by the União players and converted by Hoseth, gave the tie to the Norwegians.

Both coach Vítor Pontes and president João Bartolomeu were critical of the referee after the match, and Bartolomeu has said that he will submit a complaint to UEFA. Whatever, União's first ever taste of European football has finished prematurely and bitterly.

Next up were Sporting, travelling to Malmö of Sweden with a two-goal lead from Alvalade. A goal by Brazilian newcomer Liedson (1-0) early in the second half was enough to break the back of any Swedish resistance, and so the Lions go through.

Finally, Benfica took a 1-1 draw away at Belgian club La Louviére to Boavista's Bessa Stadium (where the 'Eagles' have been playing their European games while the Luz is completed) and for the whole of the first half looked like they didn't have a clue how to consolidate their position, La Louviére matching the Lisbon side for ineptitude. Then straight after the break, no doubt fuelled by a rollicking from Spanish coach António Camacho, Benfica looked a different team, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and shooting on sight.

On 58 minutes, it was the Hungarian striker Miki Fehér who finally gave Benfica a little bit of breathing space, volleying in from the edge of the box after a nice passing movement across the face of the goal, but another goal would have put La Louviére level. They didn't get one, and nor did Benfica, thanks in part to the excellent Proto in the Belgian goal. In the dying minutes, Mamouni, little more than a thug on this evidence, was sent off for a second yellow. And so La Louviére's last efforts were weakened, and Benfica go through ... but there were enough boos from the stands on the night to suggest that this is not the style benfiquistas want of their team.

The police were called to Sporting's hotel during their trip to Sweden because a syringe was found in one of the rooms used by the players. Club doctor Gomes Pereira explained that some players need treatment that is only administrable by syringe, and the police were apparently happy with the explanation

11/10/03

FC Porto have been cleared by UEFA of selling tickets for the UEFA Cup Final versus Celtic of last season on the black market. The club had originally been set a fine of 32,500 euros.

02/10/03

FC Porto had much of the midfield play Wednesday in their Champions League clash at home to the 'Galactic' Real Madrid but went down to the Meringues' superior efficacy in attack. And nor was the Madrid side's defence as leaky as was rumoured and as results in the Spanish Liga might suggest, especially 'keeper Casillas, who was a rock throughout.

Despite, that is, a lapse on eight minutes when he could only parry a free-kick by Deco from the left, the ball bobbing up free for Costinha to head firmly hoime from ten metres. The goal was perhaps too early for Porto. Their attacks became sustained, stopped on a couple of occasions by the excellent Casillas, but this was the perfect medium for Real to work their vicious counters. Helgueira with a header on 27 and Solari with a cool piece of self-control in the area on 35 put Real in front before the break.

Porto came back from half time with a couple of changes and got their second wind, McCarthy actually getting the ball in the net, but the goal was disallowed for for a marginal offside.While it was at 1-2, Porto were well in with a chance, but their attack kept coming up against the rock that was the Madrid defence, belying its recent reputation for holes. The game was up on 66 minutes when Figo cut a free kick back to the edge of the box where Zidane had left his marker and was ready to sweep the ball in for an ultimatley comfortable win.

With Marseille beating Partizan Belgrade 3-0 in the other game in Porto's group, it leaves the Dragons with their work cut out to get at least second place in the group.

The teams lined up:

F.C. Porto: Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Pedro Emanuel (Jankauskas, 69 m), Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Pedro Mendes (Bosingwa, 45 m), Costinha, Maniche, Ricardo Fernandes (McCarthy, 45 m), Deco; Derlei.

Real Madrid: Casillas, Michel Salgado, Pavón, Raul Bravo, Roberto Carlos, Helguera, Figo, Zidane, Solari (Cambiasso, 90 m), Guti, Ronaldo (Raul, 83 m).

26/09/03

Benfica returned to Lisbon's Portela airport in the early hours of Thurday morning to vociferous protests from the handful of fans awaiting them there, following the team's poor performance in Belgium against minnows La Louviére.

25/09/03

It was a so-so night for the three Portuguese clubs in the UEFA Cup Fist Round First Leg. While there were no disasters, all three will have to be very careful in the returns in a fortnight's time.

Sporting had the best result, beating Malmö of Sweden 2-0 at home, but they left it until five minutes from the end to give themselves that little bit of breathing space. Lively striker, Portuguese U-21 Lourenço, stroked the first in on 15 minutes after a surgical through ball by Tello. Sporting had the majority of possession and many more chances throughout the rest of the game and were rarely worried by a workmanlike but ultimately pedestrian Malmö. João Pinto hit a post on 75, then ten minutes afterwards sub Liedson hooked in Sporting's second after slipping at the first bite on the atrocious Alvalade pitch.

Sporting lined up: Ricardo, Mário Sérgio, Polga, Beto, Rui Jorge, Custódio, Rochemback, Tello (Quiroga), João Pinto, Silva (Liedson), Lourenço (Toñito).

Sporting's Lisbon rivals Benfica had on paper the easiest game of the night, but true to form they were their own worst enemies on their trip to Belgium to face modest La Louviére , whose very first experience of European football this was. Sokota misplaced a pass in attack on 14 minutes, Luisão failed to cut out the ball upfield by La Louviére and it fell to the useful Odemwingie who coolly found a space past Moreira. Good work by Geovanni and Miguel on the right seven minutes into the second half saw the full back swing over a cross that fell to Simão at the back post and the diminutive winger made no mistake (1-1). Benfica's blushes were spared, and they have an away goal, but there is nothing mighty about this Benfica, and although they should get through the second leg in terms of theoretical quality, it would take a fool to put money on it.

Benfica lined up: Moreira, Miguel, Argel, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha, Petit, Tiago, Geovanni (Anderson, 74 m), Simão, Sokota (Carlitos, 63 m), Fehér.

União de Leiria, in their first full European game ever, did well to beat Molde of Norway 1-0 at home and not concede any away goals, but will a one-goal lead be enough? Better than a defeat, though, and they have Brazilian Caíco to thank for that, his goal coming ten minutes into the second half.

UDL line up: Hélton, Bilro, Eduardo Oliveira, João Paulo, Edson, Paulo Gomes, João Manuel, Caíco, Sérgio Gameiro, Ludemar (Freddy, 84 m), Douala (Alhandra, 89 m).

17/09/03

FC Porto got a useful point at Partizan Belgrade Tuesday (1-1) in the first game of Group F of the Champions League. Porto dominated the first half, so much so that Baía did not have to make a single save. The most important figures were Ricardo Carvalho at the heart of the defence, who stopped everything that came even remotely near him (why is he not a fixture in the National side?), and Derlei, who battled and battled and battled on the left. But it was neither of them that made the breakthrough; it was Costinha , heading home a Deco corner, although 'keeper and defenders made a hash of it on the line.

In the second half it was a different story, with Partizan applying the pressure, aided by the entrance on the stage of Drulovic, the former Porto midfielder/winger. It was a free-kick from him that led to the equaliser, Delibasic planting the loose ball past a wrong-footed Baía on 55 minutes. There followed a spell in which Partizan might have extended their lead, such was their pressure, but Porto began to regain their composure and by the end were in command once again. "An away draw in the Champions Lseague is always positive," said coach Mourinho, but he must be cursing the fact that his side did not capitalise on their first half dominance.

FC Porto lined up: Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Costa, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche (Bosingwa), Pedro Mendes, Maniche, Deco (Ricardo Fernandes), McCarthy (Jankauskas), Derlei.

Sporting hope to play their upcoming UEFA Cup game against Malmö (24/09) at Alvalade XXI, despite the fact that the pitch is an atrocious condition and needs serious and extended work to make it decently playable.

União de Leiria have declared that women and young people under 16 can get in free to their game at home to Mölde of Norway on 24/09. The game will be played at nearby Marinha Grande while the Municipal Stadium of Leiria is finished for EURO 2004.

04/09/03

União de Leiria forward Maciel has been suspended by UEFA for four games following a direct red card for violent conduct in UDL's recent away tie at Irish club Coleraine . He had only been on as sub for three minutes.

FC Porto have been fined 32,500 euros for allowing tickets for last season's UEFA Cup Final against Celtic to reach the black market.

30/08/03

FC Porto were the better side for long spells and created numerous chances against AC Milan in the SuperCup in Monaco Friday, but missed out on their fourth trophy of the year thanks to a Shevchenko goal on nine minutes from a cross by Rui Costa. The Ukrainian striker was declared the Man of the Match. According to Porto coach José Mourinho, Seedorf should have seen a second yellow 25 minutes from the end: "The game was marked by an absolutely inexplicable decision," he said.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Ricardo Costa, Alenitchev (Ricardo Fernandes 74 m), Costinha (Bosingwa 65 m), Maniche, Deco, Derlei, McCarthy (Jankauskas 59 m).

AC Milan: Dida, Simic, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro, Gattuso, Pirlo, Rui Costa (Cafu 85 m), Seedorf (Ambrosini 70 m), Shevchenko (Rivaldo 74 m), Inzaghi.

União de Leiria eventually coasted comfortably past Irish side Coleraine Thursday to enter the UEFA Cup proper, along with the other Portuguese sides Sporting and Benfica, but it took UDL almost an hour to get the first goal through Ludemar. Then there was a deluge: Edson snatched a brace, Ludemar got his second and César underlined the Portuguese side's fundamental superiority on the stroke of time to make it 5-0.

In the first round of the UEFA Cup, drawn on Friday, Benfica travel first to Louvièroise of Belgium, Sporting receive Malmö of Sweden and União de Leiria are at home to Molde of Norway. The ties will be played on September 24th and October 15th.

In Thursday's draw for the Champions League, FC Porto drew the short straw, having to face the 'Dream Team' of Real Madrid in Group F. The other teams in the group are Marseilles and Partizan Belgrade.

15/08/03

União de Leiria failed to make the most of their on-paper advantage over Coleraine and lost 1-2 in the first leg of their UEFA Cup qualifying round. Gaston put the Irish side in front early on, João Manuel equalised on 41 minutes but Hamill headed Coleraine back in front just before the break. Forward Maciel was sent off three minuites after coming on as sub in the second half.

14/08/03

Benfica dominated the Champions League qualifier for long stretches in the Olympic Stadium in Rome against a weak but decisive Lázio side and came out with a heavier than deserved 1-3 defeat, which must surely put paid to the Eagles' hopes of progressing to the group stage of the Champions League. Corradi after a quarter of an hour, Fiore on 52 and Mihailovic from a free-kick ten minutes from time got the goals that on the evidence of tonight's play will be enough to take Lazio through. Simão gave Benfica a ray of hope on 63 minutes, but it's a thin ray. (match report).

Benfica coach José Camacho was not entirely displeased with the performance: "Benfica have the football in them to win this tie ... unfortunately, we lost [tonight] .. . before the game I told the players that if Lázio were going to win, I wanted it to be because they deserved it. But we committed an error early on that led to a goal and that's a problem in the Champions League ... but whatever, we played good football, we had the right rhythm from beginning to end and we created chances; in that respect, I can't complain ... We're going to have to learn. The players have to know that they can't commit these errors in the SuperLiga and especially in this type of game ... if we play like we did tonight, Lázio are going to have problems in Porto [the Bessa]. The tie is complicated, but we're going to do our best."

09/08/03

Benfica have new kits for their European campaign, which starts next week in Rome against Lázio.

08/08/03

Sérgio Conceição has been registered for Champions League duty with Lázio, who face Benfica next week.

07/08/03

Benfica have asked for 1,200 tickets for next week's Champions League qualifier against Lázio in Rome.

31/07/03

The second leg of Benfica's Champions League qualifier against Lázio in Lisbon has been moved from August 26th to the 27th.

30/07/03

The first leg of Benfica's Champions League qualifier against Lázio in Rome has been put back a day until August 13th.

29/07/03

FC Porto have sold 3,500 of their 4,000 allocation of tickets for the European Supercup against AC Milan, to be played in Monaco's 18,500 capacity stadium on August 29th.

26/07/03

Benfica drew a short straw Friday when they ended up having to face Lázio in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. Benfica were pinning great hopes on a good run in the CL, but this hurdle will be very tought to take. The first leg is in Rome on August 12th, the second at the borrowed Bessa stadium in Oporto on August 26th.

19/07/03

Benfica may play their Third Preliminary round Champions League match at Boavista's Bessa stadium, 300 kms north of Lisbon in Oporto. The two clubs are on good diplomatic terms recently, and Benfica's first choice of alternative graound while their new Luz is being completed, the National Stadium on the outskirts of Lisbon, does not have the right conditions to host European games.

21/06/03

União de Leiria, who will have to play the third preliminary round of the UEFA Cup because they lost the Taça de Portugal to FC Porto, drew Coleraine of Northern Ireland Friday, away on August 14th, home on August 28th.

 

 

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