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european competitions - 2004/05

footballportugal

15/06/05

FC Porto will receive eight million euros from UEFA for their participation in last season's Champions League. Liverpool, who won the competition, will get 30 million.

19/05/05

CSKA Moscow became the first ever Russian club to win a European competition Wednesday when they beat Sporting 3-1 on their home turf (see match report). Sporting had roughly 45,000 supporters in the 50,000 capacity Alvalade stadium, but by the end, CSKA had silenced them and it was the 4,000 Russian fans in one of the corners who were jubilant.

Sporting coach José Peseiro was sad but philosophical: "I'm proud of this team and everything we've done up to now ... luck was not on our side ... we didn't deserve to lose, but the team that scores goals deserves to win ..."

CSKA coach Valeri Gazzaev was understandably thrilled: "I want to share this joy not only with our fans but with all my compatriots."

18/05/05

Sporting have lost Chilean striker Pinilla just a day before the UEFA Cup Final against CSKA Moscow. Pinilla, who has found his form at the end of the season, injured his left knee in training and may be out for between four and six months.

The last 140 tickets for the Final, returned by CSKA, were snapped up Tuesday by Sporting sócios, meaning that the game will have a full house - around 50,000.

14/05/05

Sporting have sold all of their total allocation of 20,000 tickets (12,000 plus 8,000 returned by CSKA Moscow) for the UEFA Cup Final at Alvalade Wednesday.

06/05/05

Sporting are through to the UEFA Cup Final, to be played in their own Alvalade XXI stadium. In an epic, heart-stopping battle with AZ Alkmaar, they ran out 3-2 losers after extra time on the night, but winners over the two legs due to the away goals rule.

They started badly, looking nervous, and AZ caught them cold on just five minutes, a short corner worked to the line and an unmarked Kenneth Perez heading in the cross. At this point, AZ were through. But Sporting are made of stern stuff these days, and they came back srongly, dominating much of the rest of play. Just before the break, Liedson knocked in the equaliser from close range after a shot from Polga.

On 78, however, AZ caught Sporting on the break and sliced through the middle of their defence, De Cler shooting, Ricardo blocking and de Huysegens finding the empty net from the rebound. It was all square over the two legs, and so it went to extra time.

On 108 minutes, Jaliens, unmarked from a corner, popped up near the edge of the box and threaded the ball inside the post. Now AZ were through ... but still Sporting came forward, keeping their shape and patience. And just as the Dutch were celebrating in the stands, a corner in added time for Sporting. Ricardo ran up the pitch to add his weight to the last-ditch effort. And there was right back Miguel Garcia at the near post to glance a header low past Timmers.

The teams lined up:

AZ Alkmaar: Timmer, Jaliens, Vlaar, De Cler; Opdam, Landzaat, Ramzi (Elkhahabi, 63 m), Van Galen, Sektioui (Janga, 119 m), Kenneth Perez, Nelisse (Huysegems, 71 m).

Sporting: Ricardo, Miguel Garcia, Beto, Polga, Rui Jorge (Niculae, 109 m), Custódio, Douala (Tello, 74 m), João Moutinho, Rochemback (Pedro Barbosa, 85 m), Sá Pinto, Liedson.

Sporting play CSKA Moscow, who beat Parma, in the final.

04/05/05

Sporting have lost Pinilla ahead of their UEFA Cup semi-final second leg at AZ Alkmaar Thursday. The Chilean striker, who scored the second goal of the 2-1 win in the first leg and a hat-trick on Sunday against Sporting Braga, was injured during training and joins Enakarhire, Rogério and Carlos Martins on the sidelines. The Sporting squad is:

Goalkeepers: Ricardo, Nelson, Tiago.
Defenders: Hugo, Polga, Miguel Garcia, Mário Sérgio, Paíto, Beto, Rui Jorge.
Midfielders: Custódio, Rochemback, Pedro Barbosa, Tello, João Moutinho, Hugo Viana
Forwards: Niculae, Douala, Sá Pinto, Liedson, Mota

29/04/05

Sporting take a slim 2-1 lead to Holland after beating AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of the UEFA Cup semi-final Thursday. Landzaat put the Dutch in front on 36 minutes with their first shot at goal, but Sporting came straight back and equalised on 37 through Douala. Chilean striker Pinilla, on as sub, gave Sporting some hope with a powerful shot from outside the area on 80 minutes.

15/04/05

Sporting's dream of playing in the UEFA Cup Final in their own stadium was nudged closer Thursday when they beat Newcastle 4-1 ... in the Alvalade XXI stadium. (See match report). Sporting will now meet Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in the Semi-Final on 28 April in Alvalade, and in Holland on 5 May. The other Semi is between Parma and CSKA Moscow.

12/04/05

This year's Portuguese representative in the Intertoto Cup, which brings the 'lesser' teams into the UEFA Cup, will enter the competition in the third round and will play a team from Serbia-Montenegro/Macedonia or Germany. The first leg will be in Portugal on 16 or 17 July and the second away on 23 July.

08/04/05

Sporting went down 0-1 at Newcastle Thursday in the quarter final first leg of the UEFA Cup, but they did enough to suggest that they have a good chance to turn the score around next week. An unmarked Shearer got the only goal of the game on 37 minutes, heading in a free-kick from the left in what could only have been a highly practised set piece. Sporting had most of the possession and created several chances to score, notably through Moutinho, whose second-half shot was tipped around the post by Shay Given in the Newcastle goal.

Sporting 'keeper Ricardo went to hospital after the game for tests on a head injury picked up from a clash with Newcastle striker Ameobi in the first half. Sporting's top striker Liedson will miss the second leg through suspension after being yellow-carded in the St James Park match.

05/04/05

UEFA have made around 8,000 tickets available to the general public, as from Monday 04/04, for the UEFA Cup Final, to be played at Sporting's Alvalade XXI Stadium on 18 May. Candidates for this wave of tickets will have to apply via the UEFA site and then wait for their name to be drawn. 7,500 have already been allocated to local fans. Each finalist will be allocated 12,000 tickets after the semi-finals, the second leg of which is on 5 May. The capacity of the ground for the final will be 46,500. Sporting still have a chance to appear in the final on their own ground. They meet Newcastle in the quarter finals, the first leg of which is this Thursday in Newcastle.

22/03/05

Finalists in the last edition, União de Leiria have registered for the Intertoto Cup next season. The cup gives access to the UEFA Cup. União would have to finish in the top twelve in the SuperLiga in order to be able to participate. They are currently 11th.

18/03/05 (II)

After dispatching one North-eastern English club from the competition, Sporting will meet Middlesborough's neighbours Newcastle United in the Quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup. Friday's draw in Nyon, Switzerland, pits the Lisbon giants against the side they drew 1-1 with in December in the group stage of the same competition. The two sides met in the pre-season also, Sporting winning 1-0. Sporting will play in Newcastle first, on 28 April. The return is on 5 May. If Sporting get past Newcastle, they will play the winners of Steaua Bucharest/Villareal versus Almaar.

Newcastle Chairman Freddy Shepherd has declined Sporting's request to let midfielder Hugo Viana play in the two games. Viana is on loan from the 'Magpies'. About the draw, Shepherd said: "They beat us in the pre-season, then we drew in the group stage, so now it's our turn to win.

Sporting are the only Portuguese club left in Europe after FC Porto were knocked out of the Champions League by Inter Milan Tuesday.

18/03/05 (I)

Sporting did enough Thursday to qualify for the Quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup by beating Middlesborough 1-0 at home. They had gone into the game 3-2 up from the first leg, meaning that Middlesborough had to win by at least two goals. In the event, the English side didn't manage any, and Sporting got another just for good measure, on 89 minutes, Pedro Barbosa fed by Douala after the Cameroonian winger had fled down the left, leaving defenders in his wake. There were 21,000 at the game, 2,500 of them 'Boro supporters. There were no reports of any trouble from them.

16/03/05

FC Porto flopped out of the Champions League Tuesday with a 1-3 reverse at Inter Milan. They had taken a 1-1 draw there from the first leg, and no one was putting money on the possibility of their being able to beat Inter, so poor is their form of late. They did not surprise, in fact, and the defeat at Guiseppe Meazza, can be blamed on two main factors: suicidal ineptitude in midfield, and Inter's Brazilian striker Adriano, whose effectiveness on the night was deadly.

Porto reverted to a five-man defence but despite all their caution, it started badly for them, Diego losing the ball and Adriano breaking down the left. His shot was half blocked by Pedro Emmanuel and the ball ballooned over Baía and in, despite a last-ditch attempt at a clearance from Ricardo Costa. That was just five minutes into the game, but to Porto's credit, they came back with spirit, if not always design. They might have equalised twice through Benni McCarthy, but the disastrous Diego blocked a free-kick from him on 26 minutes, and a snap shot of his was later saved by Toldo.

Inter went further in front on the hour, Cruz feeding Adriano, who had time to pick his spot, the top right-hand corner. Five minutes later, Jorge Costa handed Porto a lifeline as he bundled in from close range following a Toldo fumble of a low Quaresma corner. That made it 2-1 on the night, and Porto needed just one more to go through on away goals. But no sooner had they woken up to the possibility than Inter dried them out with their calculated possession football. And five minutes from the end, Adriano cut in from the right and, once again virtually unchallenged, placed a low shot past Baía's right hand for his hat-trick.

Last season's European Champions are out of the Champions League.

The teams lined up:

Inter Milan: Toldo, Zé Maria, Materazzi, Mihajlovic, Javier Zanetti, Verón (Meyde, 88 m), Cristiano Zanetti, Cambiasso, Stankovic (Gonzáles, 81 m), Adriano, Júlio Cruz (Martins, 74 m).

FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Seitaridis, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Costa (Hélder Postiga, 65m), Pedro Emanuel (Pepe, 81 m), Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Diego, Cláudio (Quaresma, 45 m), McCarthy.

FC Porto Coach José Couceiro was, perhaps understandably, angry with his team: "Inter, mainly in the first half, created danger through our mistakes. Later, we're guilty because we let them grow. We have responsibilities, and the players have to do what was stipulated. In the second half we committed a few more mistakes and when it was 2-1 we allowed them to score. FC Porto showed that they have a lot to learn to not fail at crucial moments."

11/03/05

Sporting got a very positive result out of their last-16 UEFA Cup first-leg game at Middlesborough Thursday, although but for some sloppy defending it could have been so much better. Within twenty minutes in the second half, Sporting were three up, through Pedro Barbosa, Liedson and Douala. But they let their concentration slip and in the last ten minutes, Job and Riggott pulled two back for 'Boro, which will give them the chance of turning the tie around in Lisbon.

25/02/05

The two Lisbon giants had opposite fortunes in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup Thursday.

Sporting took a 2-1 lead from the first leg to Feyenoord, and the fear was that it would not be enough, and that the away goal would come into play. Suspended coach José Peseiro, watching from the stands, had to innovate in midfield due to the forced absence of Custódio through suspension, and in defence due to the absences of Anderson Polga and Beto through injury. In came youngster Moutinho and club captain, the veteran Pedro Barbosa, in midfield, and in the centre of defence were Enarkahire and Hugo, starting together for the first time. The changes were, as it turned out, inspired, and Sporting produced a superb European display, with only patches of pressure to beat a curiously bland Feyenoord 2-1 on the night, 4-2 on aggregate.

One goal would have swung the tie Feyenoord's way, but it was Sporting who extended their overall lead with an excellent strike from Liedson, who had been hiding from the game for an hour. Carlos Martins, in his own half, put the Brazilian through on goal and he took the ball on, coolly chipping the oncoming Lodewijks from the edge of the area. And it was all over bar the shouting on 82 minutes when Rochemback crashed a free-kick in from 25 metres. In the dying minutes, Hofs, who should have been sent off earlier for a second bookable foul, got a consolation for Feyenoord, but there was no doubt who deserved to go through to the last 16.

The teams lined up:

Feyenoord: Lodewijks, Zuiverdloon (Lazovic, 71), Saidi, Gibbs, Bruno Basto (Ono, 45), Castelen, Hofs, Paauwe, Bart Goor, Kalou, Kuijt.

Sporting: Ricardo, Rogério, Enakarhire, Hugo (Miguel Garcia, 74), Rui Jorge, Carlos Martins (Douala, 75), Rochemback, João Moutinho, Pedro Barbosa, Sá Pinto, Liedson

The game was marked by crowd trouble. The kick-off was delayed due to ticker-tape that had to be cleared from the pitch. Then midway through the first half, a firework thrown from the crowd exploded near Sporting ´keeper Ricardo, and the game was stopped for five minutes while he was treated. Finally, following Liedson's goal, and while the Sporting players were celebrating near the touchline, the were showered with missiles from the crowd, one of which appeared to hit Rui Jorge, who required treatment. It was the last straw for German referee Florian Meyer, who took the teams off the pitch. The game restarted twenty minutes later. Feyenoord can expect stiff punishment from UEFA for the incidents.

In the next round, Sporting will play Premiership club Middlesborough, who knocked out Austrian side Grazer.

Sporting's Lisbon neighbours, Benfica, were not so lucky. They brought a 0-2 deficit from last week's game at CSKA Moscow, and Benfica's form book indicated that it would be difficult to turn the result around; so it proved. A first half with no goals did not bode well for the Portuguese side, and sure enough, five minutes into the second half, CSKA got the goal that put the tie beyond Benfica´s reach, Ignasevich firing home after a corner. Trapattoni brought on Karadas, Mantorras and Miguel for Nuno Assis, Nuno Gomes and Geovanni, respectively, and Karadas it was pulled one back for Benfica from a Petit corner. But it was a mere consolation in a tie that was lost in Russia a week ago.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, João Pereira, Alcides, Luisão, Fyssas, Petit, Manuel Fernandes, Geovanni (Miguel, 62), Nuno Assis (Karadas, 54), Simão, Nuno Gomes (Mantorras, 60).

CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev, Odiah (Shershun, 71), Ignshvich, Aleksei, Vasiliy Berezutskiy, Aldonin; Milos Krasic, Rahimic, Daniel Carvalho (Gusev, 91), Zhirkov, Vágner Love (Olic, 83).

24/02/05

European Champions FC Porto put their crown at risk Wednesday when they could only draw at home to Inter Milan, while they also conceded an 'away' goal. Porto's season just keeps spluttering, and here again they were a pale imitation of the side that took Europe by storm last season, despite the backbone being the same: Vítor Baía, Pedro Emanuel, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, McCarthy. But it was Inter who looked more the part virtually throughout, helped by that 'away' goal on 23 minutes. Favalli sent Adriano loping down the left, Seitaridis couldn't keep up, the Brazilian's low cross was half a goal and Martins had just to push the ball into an empty net, with Porto's defenders and Baía claiming an inexistent offside.

Porto showed in flashes, a superb volley from outside the box by Maniche that Toldo pushed over the bar being the pick of the various chances they had in the first half. But it was only on the hour that Porto managed to peg one back, and it came from an untypical double mistake by Toldo, drawn out of goal by a cross to the far post, flapping and missing the ball for Costinha to knock it back across goal, Toldo missing again and Ricardo Costa crashing it home from point-blank range. Coach Couceiro tried three central strikers (McCarthy, Luís Fabiano and Hélder Postiga) and no wingers for the last ten minutes or so, but the system was not geared up for that strategy, and Porto finished with a whimper, Inter looking the more likely to regain the lead, kept out only by a couple of outstanding saves from Baía.

A possible ray of hope for Porto is that both Favalli and Córdoba, who saw yellow cards, will miss the return on 15 March in Milan.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Vítor Baía; Seitaridis, Ricardo Costa, Pedro Emanuel, Nuno Valente, Raul Meireles, Costinha, Bosingwa (Luís Fabiano, 27 m), Maniche, Quaresma Hélder Postiga, 82 m), McCarthy.

Inter: Toldo, Javier Zanetti, Córdoba, Materazzi, Favalli, Veron (Emre, 70 m), Cristiano Zanetti, Cambiasso, Stankovic, Martins, Adriano (Vieri, 80 m).

18/02/05

Benfica put in a poor display Thursday to lose 0-2 to CSKA Moscow in the first leg of the last-32 round of the UEFA Cup. CSKA were always better organised, and their defence was always solid enough to rebut Benfica's limp attacks. Daniel Carvalho got CSKA's first on 11 minutes from a cross-cum-shot, and on the hour, Wagner Love strode unchallenged through the heart of the Benfica defence to crack home a through ball from Rahimic. The two-goal margin should be enough for CSKA to go through unless Benfica can improve substantially on this toothless performance next week at the Luz.

17/02/05

Sporting beat Ruud Gullit's Feyenoord 2-1 in the first leg of their last-32 UEFA Cup tie Wedensday but may rue the fact that they didn't score more when they had the chance, and that they let in an 'away' goal that makes their trip to Holland next week all the more difficult, especially since key midfielder Custódio will be missing after two yellow cards and a subsequent red in the game at Alvalade.

Sporting had fire in their bellies from the start and might have gone in front as early as the fifth minute, Hugo Viana's shot from 25 metres pinging off the bar. But they were behind just a minute later when, with the Sporting defence caught cold, Castelen shot, it was half blocked by Polga and Goor stroked in the loose ball. Sporting's defence showed their wobbliness several times during the game; captain Beto had injured himself in the warm-up and Enarkahire stepped in, one of the reasons perhaps for the problems caused by the Feyenoord attack whenever they got into the last third.

But the first half was Sporting's; their super-midfield was working like clockwork and striker Liedson was a constant threat. On 20 minutes, Hugo Viana made the line on the right and crossed low for Custódio to half-hit the ball goalwards and in. Then on 37, Sá Pinto went down the same side and crossed to leave the unmarked Liedson with a simple header. Sporting had made enough chances in the first half to be more comfortable going into the break, but they must have thought they had a good chance of extending the lead in the second half.

Not so. The performance of the team was a shadow of that of the first half, and with the exit of Carlos Martins (an option by coach Peseiro) and the sending-off of Custódio on 63 minutes, the midfield lost its shape. Sporting might have had a penalty for a foul on Liedson, but the player had been trying it on throughout and perhaps it was a case of the boy crying 'wolf'. Late in the game, Peseiro was sent off, presumably for words to one of the officials, although the Sporting coach denied he had said anything untoward.

Sporting are obviously in with a chance to go through to the next round, but they have made their task more difficult when it could have been a cruise.

12/02/05

FC Porto's recent success in Europe has benefited Portuguese football in general with regard to the number of places available for Portuguese clubs in the European competitions. Two clubs will have direct access to the Champions League group stage next season, with another having to qualify from the third preliminary round. Three clubs will have direct access to the first phase of the UEFA Cup.

04/02/05

There are still 1,000 tickets available to the general public for the UEFA Cup Final, to be played at Sporting's Alvalade XXI Stadium in Lisbon on 18 May. The tickets go on sale as from 14 February.

18/12/04

The draw took place in Nyon, Switzerland Friday for both the Champions League last 16 and the UEFA Cup last 32.

FC Porto will have to get past Inter Milan, at the Estádio do Dragão on 22/23 February, with the return scheduled for 15 March in the San Siro.

In the UEFA Cup, Sporting will play Feyenoord (Holland) at home in the first leg, while Benfica will face CSKA Moscow away. Matches will be played on 16/17 February (first leg) and 23/24 February, 2005.

If Sporting get through, they will play either Graz of Austria or Middlesboro of the Premiership. Benfica will meet either Partizan Belgrade or Dniepr of the Ukraine.

The first wave of sales of 7,200 tickets for the UEFA Cup Final, to be played in Sporting's Alvalade XXI Stadium on 18 May, has almost finished. The 25 euro and 100 euro tickets sold out on the first day, (Wednesday), and by Friday there were only a few 35 and 65 euro tickets left. (see www.fpf.pt['bilhetes Final Taca UEFA']).

17/12/04

Sporting outplayed English Premiership side Newcastle Thursday at St James Park but could only draw 1-1, a result that leaves them third in UEFA Cup Group D behind Newcastle, top, and Sochaux. Sporting had control of midfield and more possession than the Geordies, but they rarely advanced on Given's goal with danger. Bellamy put Newcastle in front after only four minutes, beating Beto to a cross and looping a header over Ricardo, off his line. Sporting equalised on 39 minutes, Custódio heading in at the near post from a Rochemback free-kick.

15/12/04

Tickets for the UEFA Cup Final, to be played at Sporting's Alvalade XXI stadium in Lisbon on 18 May, will go on sale over the Internet Wednesday, as from 15.00 local time. Prices of tickets are 25, 35, 65 and 100 euros and can be reserved via the Portuguese Football Federation website at www.fpf.pt ('bilhetes Final Taca UEFA'). There is also a helpline (00 34 707 24 2005), an e-mail address (ucf2005@fpf.pt) and a fax number (00 34 21 799 2080).

08/12/04

FC Porto qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League Tuesday in a thrilling last day of Group H. At different points during the game against Chelsea at the Dragão, Porto were out of any European competition, then qualified for the UEFA Cup and then through in the CL, all eyes on both the unfolding drama in Porto and what was happening in the other Group H game, PSG against CSKA Moscow. That game ultimately ended in a 3-1 win for the Russians, which meant that CSKA would qualify for the UEFA Cup and PSG would be out if Porto could win their game.

But winning it didn't look likely for a very long time. Damien Duff cut in from the right and swerved a shot past a flapping Nuno on 34 minutes, and such was Chelsea's composure and Porto's faint air of desperation that it seemed more probable that Chelsea would extend their lead. But Nuno made up for his earlier mistake with three fine saves in the second half, one from Lampard in the dying minutes a match winner. And it was left to Diego, who volleyed home a loose ball from the edge of the box on the hour, and McCarthy with a text-book header from a Quaresma cross five minutes from time to clinch a 2-1 win and qualification, sending 40,000 Porto fans home ecstatic.

07/12/04

Everything is set for a tense final game in Group H of the Champions League between FC Porto and Chelsea Tuesday. It's a game that Porto must win to have a hope of passing to the next phase, but Chelsea are not going to make it easy for them, despite Chelsea coach José Mourinho's close ties with a club he took to the CL title last season. Assistant coach Steve Clarke said Monday: "It's a game that Mourinho intends to win and he's up for it. It's a special game, seeing as how it's the return home. So he's even more motivated than usual to win"

Porto coach Víctor Fernandez highlighted the disruption behind the scenes at the club following the accusation of club president Pinto da Costa as being involved in the so-called 'Golden Whistle' corruption scandal: "It's a game that's going to be played in special circumstances as strange things are happening ... As well as the situation with the president, Porto are playing a very difficult team, Chelsea, that have spent a lot of money in the market to get the best players ... But I have faith in my players and I'm certain that we're going to play well against a very strong opponent."

Porto's squad sees the continuing absence of 'keeper Vítor Baía through injury and the return of Brazilian striker Luís Fabiano. The squad:

Goalkeepers: Nuno, Rui Sacramento
Defenders: Jorge Costa, Pepe, Seitaridis, Areias, Pedro Emanuel, Ricardo Costa.
Midfielders: Costinha, Bosingwa, Hugo Leal, Diego, Maniche, César Peixoto, Quaresma.
Forwards: Derlei, Hélder Postiga Luís Fabiano, McCarthy.

The game has been classified as 'high risk' by UEFA, and there will be 420 police officers on duty in and around the ground, apart from stewards.

03/12/04

Without breaking into a sprint, Benfica dispatched Beveren away Thursday to qualify for the next phase of the UEFA Cup. The fifth minute proved key, Beveren ´keeper Copa bringing down Karadas and subsequently seeing a red card. Simão slotted home th epenalty. Zahovic scored the first of his two goals on 20 minutes, taking advantage of a through pass dummied by Karadas, and the Slovenian got his second to sentence Beveren on 58 minutes, once again clear in front of goal and netting calmly.

Benfica, whose last group game this was, have qualified from Group G and may come top if Stuttgart fail to beat Dynamo Zagreb on the last day.

02/12/04

Sporting wavered Wednesday against a well organised Sochaux of France to leave qualification to the next phase of the UEFA Cup until the game in Newcastle on 16 December. A double error by Brazilian central defender Anderson Polga let in Lonfat to score on just two minutes, and Sporting spent the next 88 chasing their tails, Sochaux always looking the more compact of the two sides and creating many chances on the break. Sporting in turn had two big chances, both of them potential own-goals by French defenders, which illustrated the problems they were having to create chances for themselves.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Rogério (Tello, 77 m), Enakarhire, Polga, Rui Jorge, Rochemback, Beto, Pedro Barbosa (Danny, 67 m), Hugo Viana, Liedson, Douala.

Sochaux: Richert, Tall, Diawara (Lavie, 90 m), Paisley, Mathieu, Isabey, Pitau, Daf, Lonfat, Santos (Ilan, 73 m), Zairi (Menez, 66 m).

01/12/04

Chelsea, FC Porto's final opponents in the group phase in a game that the Portuguese must win to have a hope of going through to the knockout stage, will arrive in Porto on Monday, ahead of Tuesday's match, but, unusually, will not train at the Dragão. Chelsea are already through to the next stage.

27/11/04

The Final of the UEFA Cup, which will take place on 15 May 2005, was officially presented in Lisbon Friday. Tickets for the game, to be played at Sporting's Alvalade XXI stadium, will be on sale on the official FPF website as from 15 December. Prices range from 25 to 110 euros. Tickets will be limited to four per person and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. A voucher will issued that can be traded for the ticket up to two weeks before the game.

26/11/04

Benfica and Sporting both won comfortably Thursday in the group phase of the UEFA Cup.

Sporting travelled to Dynamo Tiblisi and came away with three points and a very satisfying 4-0 scoreline. The inevitable Liedson scored a hat-trick and passed for Hugo Viana to score Sporting's fourth.

Later in the evening, Benfica received Dynamo Zagreb in a sadly half-empty Luz. In a convincing first half, Benfica went ahead 2-0 through Sokota (a header from a Simão cross) and Simão himself (a twice-taken penalty). In the second half, Benfica might have let a weak Zagreb side back into the game, but luck was on their side (for example, when Karadas knocked the ball against his own goalpost). In the same Group G, Heerenveen beat Stuttgart 1-0. Benfica top Group G on six points, followed by Dynamo and Heerenveen on three and Beveren on none. The first three clubs qualify for the next round.

25/11/05

FC Porto threw themselves a lifeline in Group H of the Champions League Wednesday when they won 1-0 at CSKA Moscow. Benni McCarthy, often the club's saviour, rose to head home a Seitaridis cross on 28 minutes, and that proved enough to give Porto three valuable points. In a key moment, Ignasevich blazed over from the spot on 35 minutes.

The teams lined up:

CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev, Ignasevich, Sembreras, A. Berezoutski; Semak, Aldonin, Jarosik (Ferreyra, 67 m), Rahimic, Zhirkov; Krasic (Gusev, 70 m), Wagner Love.

FC Porto: Nuno, Seitaridis, Jorge Costa, Pedro Emanuel, Ricardo Costa; Bosingwa, Costinha Maniche, Quaresma (César Peixoto, 58 m), McCarthy (Hugo Almeida, 77 m), Derlei (Pepe, 90 m).

In the other game in the group, Chelsea could only draw 0-0 at home to PSG, leaving the French team on the same five pointsas Porto, but with PSG having the advantage over the current champions because of the games between them. Chelsea remain top on 13, despite losing the first points of the campaign. CSKA are bottom on four. Porto must now beat Chelsea at the Dragão in the final group game on December 7th and hope that PSG draw or lose to CSKA.

24/11/04

FC Porto are in Moscow ahead of their Champions League clash with CSKA Wednesday, which is expected to be played in a temperature of -10ºC. Coach Víctor Fernandez was pragmatic about Porto's fragile situation in the group, where only a win will serve them in their increasingly complicated struggle for qualification to the knockout stage: "We are in this situation through our own fault, so we can't really moan about it ... We just have to grit our teeth and do our job so that we can project an image of character and professionalism."

Sporting are also up in the cold, more precisely in Georgia, ahead of their UEFA Cup game Thursday against Dynamo Tbilisi. Benfica face Dynamo Zagreb at the Luz.

05/11/04

The two Lisbon Grandes involved in the UEFA Cup, Benfica and Sporting, had very different fortunes Thursday.

Benfica were first up, but their trip to Stuttgart proved a frustrating one. Apart from a minor fling halfway through the second half that coincided with the entry of Bruno Aguiar for Nuno Gomes, they never really got going and justifiably went down 0-3 , Stuttgart's goals coming from Cacau (30 mins), Messner (51) and Kuranyi (72). Benfica were inferior in all departments and cannot hope to progress much further in the competition with this form.

The teams lined up:

Stuttgart: Hildebrand, Hinkel, Stranzl, Babbel, Lahm, Soldo, Meissner, Hleb (Vranjes 87), Heldt (Tiffert 73), Kuranyi (Szabics 77), Cacau.

Benfica: Moreira, Amoreirinha, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha (Argel, 44), Dos Santos, Paulo Almeida, Manuel Fernandes, João Pereira (Karadas, 55), Geovanni, Simão, Nuno Gomes (Bruno Aguiar, 64).

In the other game in Group G, Dynamo Zagreb thrashed Belgian side Beveren 6-1. Stuttgart are top of the group on six points followed by Dynamo and Benfica on three, and Heerenven and Beveren on nought.

Sporting started in scintillating fashion against Panionios, and their first ten minutes were probably the best they have played all season, with quick one-touch passing and bursts of individual brilliance. It was during this period that they went ahead through Custódio on four minutes, rising to head in a Hugo Viana corner from close range. But gradually and inexplicably they let the Greek side into the game the hook, and sure enough, Uruguayan striker Marcora slipped the offside trap on 35 minutes and slotted the ball past Ricardo to equalise. Their joy lasted just two minutes, though: a neat move close to the box on the right ended with Rogério feeding Cameroonian forward Douala who made no mistake from in front of goal.

Sporting were let off the hook early in the second half when Goundoulakis had a good goal disallowed for an inexistent offside, and that was practically Panionios' last shout. Liedson got the slightest of touches on a Hugo Viana free-kick on 78 minutes to give Sporting a two-goal buffer, and two minutes later, Viana scored himself, chipping the giant keeper Colceag from 25 metres for the goal of the night. Ultimately an easy victory for Sporting, but there was a danger of them shooting themselves in the foot in the middle part of the game. It was the Lions' fifth win in a row after a shaky start to the season that had some calling for coach José Peseiro's head.

The teams lined up:

Sporting: Ricardo, Rogério, Enakarhire, Polga, Rui Jorge, Custódio, Carlos Martins (Pedro Barbosa 64), Rochemback (Miguel Garcia 84), Hugo Viana, Douala (Danny 71), Liedson.

Panionios: Colceag. Vlcek, Giannopoulos, Spiropoulos, Savas, Exouzidis (Makos 61), Goundoulakis (Dodd 76), Parodi, Lagonikakis, Domoraud, Marcora (Mitrou 75), Breska.

In the other game in Group D, Newcastle beat Dynamo Tbilisi of Georgia 2-0 to go top on 6 points followed by Sporting and Sochaux on three and Panionios and Dynamo on nought.

03/11/04

FC Porto continue to underwhelm in all competitions, and Tuesday was no exception. They failed to get the win they so desperately needed to kick start their Champions League campaign, now in tatters, and could only draw 0-0 at home to PSG.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Seitaridis, Jorge Costa, Pedro Emanuel, Ricardo Costa, Bosingwa, Diego (Carlos Alberto, 64 m), Maniche, Quaresma (Hélder Postiga, 77 m), McCarthy (Hugo Almeida, 64 m), Derlei.

PSG: Letizi, Pichot, Pierre-Fanfan, Yepes, Armand, Cana, M'bami, Pancrate, Coridon (Mendy, 73 m), Cissé (Boskovic, 87 m), Pauleta (Ljuboja, 88 m).

In the same group, José Mourinho's Chelsea qualified for the next stage with a 1-0 win at CSKA Moscow. Porto are on two points, CSKA and PSG on four. Porto play CSKA away next and then Chelsea at home. "It's out of our hands now," said coach Víctor Fernandez.

22/10/04

Benfica looked to be cruising to an easy victory in the first game of the UEFA Cup group stage Thursday, but then had a fright when Heerenveen pegged two goals back before the Águias went into overdrive to steal the three points 4-2.

It all started brightly for Benfica, who were looking fresh and well-oiled. But it was Heerenveen who threatened first, Huntelaar hitting a post before full-back dos Santos put Benfica in front on 14 minutes, his cross-cum-shot looping over Vanderbussche. The Dutch hit the post again through Yilderin, but then on the half-hour Nuno Gomes volleyed in from the edge of the box, after a neat combination between Miguel and Zahovic, to give Benfica what looked like a comfortable lead going into half time.

But Heerenveen came out with all guns blazing in the second half and within seven minutes were level, Yilderin with a free kick and Huntelaar a penalty after Ricardo Rocha had handled. Suddenly Benfica were shaken, and their game started to fall apart as the Dutch grew stronger. The Norwegian Karadas came on on 67 minutes, however, and after five minutes proved a saviour for Benfica, rifling home from 20 metres after a delightful back-heel assist from Nuno Gomes. It was Nuno Gomes himself who put the game beyond Heerenveen's reach with his second of the night on 78 minutes, taking a pass from Simão and striding on to clip the ball in.

Nuno Gomes' first goal was his 100th in a Benfica shirt.

It was Sporting's rest day in the Group stage.

21/10/04

FC Porto put in a very poor performance in Paris against a well organised and occasionally deadly PSG and came out 0-2 losers on the night, a result that puts in question Porto's progress into the knock-out stage. Porto had two-thirds of possession but it was meaningless because they rarely arrived at the PSG goal with any kind of threat, and when they did, there was a lot of egoism controlling the moves, so that time and again, players like Carlos Alberto and Diego would try an extra feint for the photographers.

But it was PSG who were the more pragmatic, and they fashioned the result in a two-minute burst on the half-hour. Coridon was first up, twisting to send a back-heel volley from 15 metres past Vítor Baía, who was slow to react. Almost straight from the kick off, PSG were back at Porto's throat, Portuguese international striker Pauleta turning his coat for the night and feeding Reinaldo on the right before striding through to meet the Brazilian's low cross with a flick and in.

The teams lined up:

PSG: Leitizi, Pichot, Pierre-Fanfan, Yepes, Armand, Coridon, Cana, MBami, Rothen (Boskovic, 48 m), Reinaldo (Cissé, 72 m), Pauleta (Ljuboja, 82 m).

FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Seitaridis, Jorge Costa (Bosingwa, 75 m), Pepe, Ricardo Costa, Maniche, Costinha (Ricardo Quaresma, 51 m), Diego, Carlos Alberto, McCarthy, Derlei (Hélder Postiga, 68 m).

Porto have just one point from a possible nine and are bottom of Group H with just three games left. Porto's Spanish coach Víctor Fernandez was still hopeful, but warned: "It's up to us from now on."

As if to remind Porto of what they are missing, former coach José Mourinho, now of Chelsea, received the UEFA trophy for best European coach of last season from Bobby Robson before the London club's CL home game against CSKA Moscow, which they won 2-0 to go top of Porto's group with maximum points.

20/10/04

FC Porto are in Paris where they had a training session Tuesday evening ahead of their Champions League game against PSG Wednesday. Coach Víctor Fernandez stressed the importance of the game: "If we don't win, we could compromise our qualification", he said.

Porto have been fined 5,000 Swiss Francs (3,250 euros) by UEFA for the incident before the recent Chelsea v Porto Champions League match where a Porto supporter spat at former Porto coach José Mourinho, now at Chelsea. The punishment is considered light and may have been softened following an appeal by Mourinho himself to show leniency on the club.

06/10/04

Benfica and Sporting both considered their opponents in the Group Stage of the UEFA cup as theoretically "accessible". Benfica (Group G) will face Heerenveen (Holland), Beveren (Belgium), Stuttgart (Germany) and Dynamo Zagreb (Croatia), while Sporting (Group D) will play Panionios (Greece), Newcastle (England), Dynamo Tbilisi (Georgia) and Sochaux (France).

Fixtures:

21/10 (Sporting rest)
Benfica v Heerenveen
04/11 Sporting v Panionios
Stuttgart v Benfica
25/11 Dynamo Tbilisi v Sporting
Benfica v Dynamo Zagreb
01/12 Sporting v Sochaux
02/12 Beveren v Benfica
15/12 (Benfica rest)
16/12 Newcastle v Sporting

02/09/04

Chelsea coach José Mourinho has made a personal appeal to UEFA to be lenient on FC Porto over the spitting incident at the Chelsea v FC Porto CL match Wednesday, arguing that it was an isolated incident by one 'fan'.

The draw for the group stage of the UEFA Cup will take place on Tuesday 5 October at 11.00 a.m. local time in Nyon, Switzerland . The first game of this stage will take place on 21 October, the last on 15/16 December. After that, the competition reverts to knock-out format in February, culminating in the Final at Sporting's Alvalade Stadium on 18 May 2005. Sporting and Benfica are the only Portuguese representatives left in the tournament.

Benfica's home game against Bystrica Thursday was watched by less than ten thousand spectators, the worst gate yet at the 65,000 capacity Luz stadium.

01/10/04

Two through, three out; that was the final result of Portugal's participation in Round 1 of the UEFA Cup, decided when the second legs were played Thursday.

Sporting were one of the two through. They had beaten Rapid Vienna 2-0 in Lisbon and now drew 0-0 in Austria. Apart from the positive resut for Sporting, that wiped out the shame of a 0-4 defeat against the same club nine years ago, when Sporting were under the guidance of Carlos Queiróz, the game was notable for the return to action of Brazilian midfielder Rochemback and the sending off of Sporting's central defender Hugo ten minutes from time.The result will take a little pressure off coach José Peseiro, who many Sporting fans have wanted sacked because of the team's poor performance in the Portuguese SuperLiga.

The teams lined up:

Rapid Vienna: Macho, Adamski (Lawaree, 54 m), Hiden, Feldhofer, Katzer (Sturm, 75 m), Hofmann, Garics (Korsos, 41 m), Hlinka, Ivanschitz, Dosek, Martinez.

Sporting: Ricardo, Enakarhire, Beto, Hugo, Paíto, Custódio, Rogério, Tinga (Rochemback, 81 m), Pedro Barbosa (Rui Jorge, 61 m), Douala (Miguel Garcia, 87 m), Liedson

Sporting's Lisbon neighbour Benfica were the other side to go through, but their task was much easier; they had brought a 3-0 win back from Dukla Bystrica (Slovakia) and had little trouble adding two early on at the Luz through Zahovic and Nuno Gomes. A thrashing seemed on the cards, but Benfica took their foot off the gas and were also sloppy in front of goal ... but through.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Quim, Amoreirinha, Luisão, Argel, Dos Santos, Petit (Everson, 46 m), Paulo Almeida, Geovanni, Zahovic (Carlitos, 74 m), Simão (Bruno Aguiar, 62 m), Nuno Gomes.

Dukla Bystrica: Zajac, Vyskoc, Dzurik, Kentos, Kunzo (Pecovsky, 66 m), Leitner, Pancik, Svintek (Kulic, 86 m), Sovic, Vesely, Jakubko.

The three other Portuguese representatives all tumbled out. Marítimo took a slim 1-0 lead to Glasgow and it proved not enough, although they were often superior to Rangers . The Scots only equalised the tie on 70 minutes through Prso. The game went to penalties and Rangers won 4-2.

The teams lined up:

Rangers: Klos, Khizanishvili, Ross, Boumsong, Vanoli (Vignal, 66 m), Burke (Arveladze, 96 m), Ricksen, Malcolm (Hughes, 85 m), Thompson, Novo, Prso.

Marítimo: Marcos, Ferreira, Van der Gaag, Tonel, Briguel, Chaínho, Bino (Silas, 72 m), Wénio, Alan (Silas, 66 m), Leo Lima, Manduca (Souza, 83 m).

Marítimo's Madeiran neighbours Nacional had the hardest task of all, going into Thursday's tie 0-2 down from the first leg at Seville. they lost the second tie, too, but managed at least to net a goal. Lopez put the Spanish side 1-0 up at half time, Adriano equalised a quarter of an hour from the end but Renato rammed home Seville's superiority on 82.

The teams lined up:

Nacional: Hilário, Patacas, Fernando Cardozo (Emerson, 70 m), Ávalos, Cleomir Fábio Santos, Cléber (Ferreira, 46 m), Alexandre Goulart (Gouveia, 80 m), Marcelo, Serginho Baiano, Adriano.

Seville: Esteban, Sergio Ramos, Javi Navarro, Pablo Alfaro, David, Casquero (Jordi Lopez, 49 m), Marti, António Lopez, Daniel Santos, Jesuli (Renato, 46 m), Dario Silva (Antoñito, 70 m).

Finally, Sporting Braga could only draw 2-2 at home to Hearts (Scotland), losing the tie 3-5 on aggregate. A goal by João Tomás on 12 minutes and one from Jaime on 75 sandwiched two by de Vries.

The teams lined up:

Sporting Braga: Paulo Santos, Abel (Baha, 59 m) Paulo Jorge, Nem, Jorge Luiz, Kenedy (Castanheira, 43 m), Jaime, Vandinho, Paulo Sérgio, João Tomás, Wender (Cesinha).

Hearts: Gordon, Nielson, Pressley, Webster, Maybury; Stamp (Rámon, 84 m), Hartley, Kisnorbo, MacFarlane, McAllister, De Vries (McKenna, 77 m).

30/09/04

Chelsea proved altogether too much of a team for FC Porto in their CL meeting in London Wednesday. Chelsea were in front as early as the 6th minute: Duff chipped a through ball to Gudjohnsen who lobbed the ball back across goal and there was Smertin to catch the ball on the volley and fire it past a static Baía. Porto struggled to make any headway; they had a reasonable amount of possession, but they rarely approached Chelsea's goal with any degree of danger ... that is until ten minutes from the break, when they seemed to come alive and cause Chelsea some concern.

The English side were further in front, though, early in the second half. Drogba had threatened with an unchallenged header on 46, then on 50 a long free kick from Duff way out on the right fell invitingly for the Ivory Coast striker and he rose, once again all but unchallenged and with Baía all adrift, to head into an empty net. Porto at this time were reduced to shooting long and desperately.

But their fortunes seemed to take a turn-around on roughly the hour mark with the entrance of Benni McCarthy and Carlos Alberto for the injured Luís Fabiano and ineffectual Quaresma, respectively. Within five minutes of their being on, they conspired to put Porto back in the game, Carlos Alberto firing in a vicious shot from outside the area, Cech fumbling and McCarthy following up to rifle home.

It was, however, like the sun appearing on a cloudy day; no sooner had fortune shone on Porto than it went back into hiding, Terry diving to head home a Lampard free-kick on 70 minutes and giving the impression that Chelsea had merely been managing the two.goal difference, and when it disappeared, they just stepped up a gear and restored it. Porto had the wind knocked out of them and although they theroetically had time to drag the score back, they really didn't do enough to get even.

Porto had looked a shadow of the powerhouse team of last season, and had various key elements that were playing below par, notably Maniche, Derlei and Quaresma. The team won enough ball in midfield, but didn't use it particularly effectively and created few chances, and a finger could be pointed at the defence for all three goals. Chelsea looked a composed side and were, man for man, superior. It appears that Mourinho has worked his magic there; as for Porto, they are (perhaps too slowly) coming together under Fernandez, and we may well see a different game in the return.

The teams line up:

Chelsea: Cech, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Terry, Gallas, Makelele, Lampard, Smertin, Duff (Tiago, 67), Gudjohnsen (Kezman, 80), Drogba (Geremi, 88).

FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Bosingwa, Jorge Costa, Pepe, Ricardo Costa, Costinha, Maniche, Diego, Quaresma (Carlos Alberto, 58), Derlei (Hélder Postiga, 80), Luís Fabiano (McCarthy, 58).

Porto coach Victor Fernandez was resigned but tried to be upbeat: "We dominated until the first goal, but afterwards we didn't control the game. Chelsea were more effective at decisive moments. In the second half, when we were playing better, we conceded another goal and a third, also from a dead ball situation .... We don't depend on anyone to qualify.... We knew that this was the most difficult ground and we had too many setbacks ..."

"All the teams in the Champions League are beatable, and Chelsea are no exception. There's still a long time to go until we play them in the Dragão.... In open play our defence was good, but it wasn't so good in dead-ball situations. Anything's possiible - there are no invincible teams. There are still two months until the end of the first phase ... We have players that can recover physically and much to improve..."

"We didn't defend well. We had the handicap of dead balls and two of the best headers in European football, Terry and Drogba ... one of our main disadvantages was the physical difference."

Chelsea coach José Mourinho was spat at from the crowd of Porto fans during the pre-match warm-up, but he played it down: "Some people like me, others not so much .."

Before the game, Chelsea's Ricardo Carvalho, fomerly of FC Porto, received the UEFA trophy for best defender of last season from the hands of England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

In the other Group H game, CSKA Moscow beat Porto's next opponents PSG 2-0.

Sporting Braga seek to recover a 1-3 deficit at home to Hearts Thursday in the UEFA Cup with the following squad:

Goalkeepers: Paulo Santos, Marco;
Defenders: Abel, Paulo Jorge, Nem, Nunes, Jorge Luíz;
Midfielders: Barroso, Jaime, Castanheira, Vandinho, Kenedy, Cândido Costa, Césinha;
Forwards: Paulo Sérgio, Wender, Baha, João Tomás.

Nacional receive Seville in Madeira. Brazilian coach Casemiro Mior is realisitc but determined: "The tie is very difficult, especially now that we are two down .. but we won't give up. Nacional will fight from the first moment to win the game. I still think qualifcation is possible ... but we're not going to put five or six up front because that would just leave spaces for the opponent."

29/09/04

FC Porto travelled to London Monday ahead of their CL clash with Chelsea Wednesday. Spirits were high after the team's first league win of the season at the weekend (1-0 at Guimarães), and president Pinto da Costa forecast a 1-0 victory for his side. But Porto's history of European games in England is not so good: drawn one and lost six, since 1969/70 (Newcastle, 0-1)

Coach Victor Fernandez was cautious: "We're having trouble scoring. We finish games with 20 shots and a lot of attacks, but if we want to win, we need to increase our scoring rate, because we're not going to have so many chances ... Chelsea are a very strong team, very fit. They're playing at home and want to win. As visitors, we must have a strong and aggressive mentality, not avoid physical contact and try to play football ... their squad are all good, but there are two players that give the side a lot of balance: Makelele and Lampard, who are very intelligent, organised and occupy space and time very well. In attack, Drogba helps to make the difference, too."

After six months out through injury, the Brazilian midfielder Fábio Rochemback returns to the Sporting squad for their UEFA Cup clash with Rapid Vienna. Sporting defend a 2-0 advantage. The team drew 0-0 away at modest Rio Ave at the weekend. The squad is:

Goalkeepers: Ricardo, Tiago.
Defenders: Miguel Garcia, Hugo, Enakarhire, Mário Sérgio, Paíto, Beto, Rui Jorge.
Midfielders: Rogério, Tinga, Custódio, Carlos Martins, Pedro Barbosa, Hugo Viana, Rochemback, Douala, Danny.
Forwards: Pinilla, Liedson.

Marítimo coach Mariano Barreto is confident for his side's trip to Glasgow Rangers in the same competition, defending a 1-0 advantage from the first leg. "We're obviously going to be a little cautious in defence, but we're not going to play just defensively because that could be catastropgic for us." The Madeiran team has been in good form since Barreto took over from Manuel Cajuda recently, and beat table rivals Boavista 2-1 at the weekend. The squad is:

Goalkeepers: Nélson, Marcos.
Defenders: Ferreira, Tonel, Evaldo, Fernando, Briguel, Van Der Gaag.
Midfielders: Silas, Bino, Léo Lima, Wénio, Luís Filipe, Chainho, Joel Santos.
Forwards: Alan, Souza, Manduca

Benfica, Sporting Braga and Nacional receive Bystrica (3-0), Hearts (1-3) and Sevilla (0-2), respectively.

28/09/04

FC Porto will be without Greek international right back Seitaridis for their intriguing reunion with coach José Mourinho when Porto play Chelsea in the Champions League in London Wednesday. The Portuguese and European champions take the following squad to England:

Goalkeepers:Vítor Baía, Nuno.
Defenders: Pedro Emanuel, Pepe, Ricardo Costa, Jorge Costa, Areias.
Midfielders: Costinha, Diego, Raul Meireles, Hugo Leal, Maniche, Bosingwa, Carlos Alberto, Quaresma.
Forwards: Derlei, Hélder Postiga, Luís Fabiano, McCarthy.

25/09/04

Benfica's Estádio da Luz and FC Porto's Estádio do Dragão are both candidates to host the final of the 2007 UEFA Cup, along with 11 others. This year's UEFA Cup Final will be played at Sporting's 50,000 capacity Alvalade XXI.

24/09/04

Despite a home draw against CSKA in the Champions League, and three consecutive draws in the first three games of the Portuguese SuperLiga, veteran midfielder Costinha remains confident about FC Porto 's chances of success this season. (UEFA article) Porto face José Mourinho's Chelsea next week.

23/09/04

The draw for the group stage of the UEFA Cup group stage, in which there may still be five Portuguese clubs, will be on October 5th at 11.00 Portuguese time.

17/09/04

Five Portuguese teams were in action in the UEFA Cup Thursday, with mixed fortunes.

Benfica, who missed out on the Champions League by losing to Anderlecht, ultimately had little trouble dispatching Slovakian side Bystrica 3-0 away and must now feel confident about going through to the group stage of the competition. Simão got two on 37 and 64 minutes, and diminutive winger João Pereira chipped the oncoming 'keeper Zajack on 72.

Benfica lined up:
Moreira; Miguel (Geovanni, 84 m), Luisão, Ricardo Rocha e Fyssas; João Pereira, Petit (Paulo Almeida, 78 m), Manuel Fernandes e Simão; Nuno Gomes (Zahovic, 73 m) e Sokota.

Sporting had more trouble with Rapid Vienna at Alvalade XXI, the venue for the final of the competition. The Lions never really got going, but they can thank their 'keeper Ricardo for keeping Rapid out and avoiding conceding an away goal, and two Brazilians, Tinga and Liedson, for giving them the two-goal advantage which, while not a 100% guarantee, does give Sporting a bit of breathing space for the return. Tinga's goal on the hour was a scrappy affair, the midfielder bundling the ball over after Macho had fumbled a low cross. Another Brazilian, central defender Anderson Polga, was sent off for a horrendous high challenge on Ivanschitz which saw the Rapid player stretchered off and left Sporting down to ten men for the last 25 minutes. Fortunately for them, Liedson got a second on 84, Douala breaking on the left and crossing for the striker to dive and head in from close range.

Sporting lined up:
Ricardo, Mário Sérgio, Polga, Enakarhire, Paíto, Rogério, Tinga, Pedro Barbosa (Danny, Hugo), Hugo Viana, Liedson, Pinilla (Douala).

Nacional, disrupted this week by the trouble with three players arrested for possession of drugs and violence against police officers, lost 0-2 in Seville. Júlio Baptista on 32 minutes and Sérgio Ramos on 80 got the goals.

Nacional's Madeiran neighbours Marítimo won their game against Glasgow Rangers 1-0 in Funchal, but whether a one-goal lead will be enough to take to Scotland is another question. Manduca gave Marítimo some hope on 26 minutes.

Sporting Braga were already visiting Scotland, but Hearts were not very generous hosts, beating the Portuguese team 3-1. It was all even at half time, but the Scots were two up within ten minutes early in the second half through Webster and Hartley. Paulo Sérgio got a valuable away goal on 64, but Braga let Hearts back in for another, possibly crucial goal in added time through Kisnorbo.

15/09/04

FC Porto got off to a disppointing start in the Champions League Tuesday when they could only draw 0-0 with a well-organised CSKA Moscow side. Porto were aimless in the first half but improved in the second, and might have gone in front on 52 minutes when Hélder Postiga was through on goal, only had the 'keeper to beat but went for effect and blasted his shot against a post. Later, the same player, in a similar position, shot straight at Akinfeev. In between, Porto had a scare when Olic hit the bar and then the post in quick succession around the 67-minute mark. As time went on, Porto looked more and more desperate and increasingly resorted to long balls and shots, but to no avail.

Porto coach Victor Fernandez said that he was "disappointed with the result, but pleased with the improvement in my players." In the other Group H game, Fernandez's predecessor at Porto, José Mourinho , got off to the best of possible starts with a resounding 3-0 win at PSG. "I'd like to be in that situation," said Fernandez, "But it was not to be."

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Seitaridis, Jorge Costa, Pepe, Areias, Costinha, Maniche, Diego, Carlos Alberto (Luís Fabiano, 65), Quaresma (Hugo Leal, 73), Hélder Postiga (McCarthy, 81).

CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev, Ignashevich, Semberas, Alexey Berezutskiy, Odiah, Rahimic, Aldonin (Vasiliy Berezutskiy, 89), Zhirkov, Jarosik, Olic, Vagner Love (Semak, 89).

14/09/04

FC Porto have called up their new signing Luís Fabiano for Tuesday's Champions League game with CSKA. Forwards Hugo Almeida and César Peixoto have both been left out of the squad:

Goalkeepers: Vítor Baía, Nuno.
Defenders: Seitaridis, Jorge Costa, Pepe, Pedro Emanuel, Ricardo Costa, Areias.
Midfielders: Costinha, Bosingwa, Raúl Meireles, Maniche, Hugo Leal, Carlos Alberto, Diego.
Forwards: Quaresma, McCarthy, Hélder Postiga, Luís Fabiano.

28/08/04

FC Porto lost the European Super Cup for the second year running Friday. Last year it was at the hands of AC Milan, this time Valência. Porto looked the better side in the first half, especially in midfield, until Baraja powered a header in from a cross by Vicente on 32 minutes. The second half was all Valência, Porto looking an untidy outfit. On 66 minuites, di Vaio rose to head home from another Vicente cross, and it looked all over. Quaresma, on as sub, drove a superb 30-metre effort past Cañizares on 72, but Porto had nothing else up their sleeve and whimpered out.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Seitaridis, Jorge Costa, Pepe, Nuno Valente, Maniche, Costinha, Hugo Leal (Quaresma), Carlos Alberto, McCarthy (Peixoto), Postiga.

Valência: Cañizares, Curro Torres, Marchena, Navarro, Carboni, Rufete, Albelda, Baraja, Vicente, Corradi (Aimar), Di Vaio (Mista).

It was a mixed UEFA Cup draw for the five Portuguese clubs in the competition, the big teams getting theoretically accessible opposition while the smaller ones got tougher tests. The draw for the Portuguese clubs was:

Hearts (Scotland) v Sporting Braga
Dukla Bystrica (Slovakia) v
Benfica
Sporting v Rapid Vienna (Austria)
Sevilla (Spain) v
Nacional
Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) v Marítimo

The games will be played 16 and 30 September. The winners of the games will go through to the group stage, to be played out between 21 October and 16 December.

27/08/04

The draw for the group stage of the Champions League threw up an intriguing encounter between FC Porto and former coach José Mourinho's new club Chelsea. The other teams in Group H are Paris St Germain and CSKA Moscow. UEFA are looking into the possibility that Chelsea Chairman Roman Abramovich also has a controlling interest in CSKA Moscow, in which case one of the clubs will have to drop out of the competition.

If CSKA remain, they will be Porto's first opponents, on 14 or 15 September, at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto. The full calendar is as follows (exact dates to be confirmed):

Day 1 (14/15 Sep.):
Paris SG (Fra) - Chelsea (Eng)
FC PORTO (Por) - CSKA Moscow (Rus)

Day 2 (28/29 Sep.)
CSKA Moscow - Paris SG
Chelsea – FC PORTO

Day 3 (19/20 Oct.):
Chelsea - CSKA Moscow
Paris SG – FC PORTO

Day 4 (2/3 Nov.):
CSKA Moscow - Chelsea
FC PORTO - Paris SG

Day 5 (23/24 Nov.):
Chelsea - Paris SG
CSKA Moscow – FC PORTO

Day 6 (7/ 8 Dec.):
Paris SG - CSKA Moscow
FC PORTO - Chelsea

25/08/04

Portugal lost out twice Tuesday when the teams vying for qualification to the next round of their respective tournaments lucked out.

Benfica fell at the final fence before Champions League qualification for the seond season running Tuesday (it had been against Lázio last season) when they lost 0-3 at Anderlecht of Belgium (1-3 on aggregate). Benfica had most of the attacking play in the first half, but it was Anderlecht who went on front on the night and levelled the tie on 33 minutes through man of the match Aruna, heading home a free-kick that might have been better covered by the Benfica defence.

In the second half, Benfica were unable to reproduce what was a reasonably coherent first-half display and Anderlecht began to dominate, going in front on the hour, once again through Aruna, slipping his marker and netting from 20 metres, wuith Quim possibly badly positioned.

But Benfica still only needed one goal and the tie would have swung their way. It was not to be: on 72 minutes, central defender Argel 'saved' a certain goal with his hand and was sent off, Jestrovic scoring from the spot. Down to ten men and demoralised, Benfica were a broken team and the final fifteen minutes were basically played out with Zitka in the Anderlecht goal hardly bothered at all.

Coach Trapattoni said after the game that: "We lacked energy and personality."

The teams lined up:

Anderlecht: Zitka, Traore, Kompany, Deschant, Zewlakow, Hasi, Bassegio, Wilhelmsson, Mpenza, Jestrovic (Iachtchouk, 79 m), Aruna (Seol, 89 m).

Benfica: Quim, Miguel, Luisão, Argel, Dos Santos, Petit, Paulo Almeida (Ricardo Rocha, 76 m), Manuel Fernandes (Zahovic, 65 m), Carlitos (Geovanni, 60 m), Sokota, Simão.

Benfica now go into the UEFA Cup - scant consolation for a club that desperately needed the millions that the CL offered.

In the Intertoto Cup, the preliminary competition to gain access to the UEFA Cup proper, União de Leiria threw away an excellent result in France (0-0) and went down 0-2 at home to Lilles. It was 0-0 after 90 minutes, but in extra-time, Lilles got the two decisive goals, first through Moussilou and then Acimovic.

The teams lined up:

UdL: Helton, Laranjeiro, Renato, Gabriel, Alhandra (Bernardo Vasconcelos, 107 m), Otacílio, Paulo Gomes, Caíco (Fangueiro, 83 m), Edson, Freddy, Fábio Felício (Krpan, 66 m).

Lilles: Tony Sylva, Chalme, Tavlaridis, Schmitz, Tafforeau (Costa Santos, 79 m), Landrin, Makoun, Bodmer, Audel (Brunel, 58 m), Moussilou, Acimovic (Plestan, 118 m).

12/08/04

FC Porto play their UEFA Super Cup against Valencia CF on Friday 27 August 2004 at 20.45 CET at the Stade Louis II in Monaco. See the official UEFA site for details.

11/08/04

Benfica beat Anderlecht 1-0 in the first leg of the third preliminary round of the Champions League Tuesday. Slovenian midfielder Zlatko Zahovic got the goal as early as 12 minutes, but Benfica didn't capitalise on the advantage, and although they had the best of the first half in terms of possession and shots on goal, it was Anderlecht who came closer to scoring, and in the second half, Benfica tired and Anderlecht had even more chances to even the score. Benfica coach Trappattoni didn't want to concede a home goal, and his counterpart Broos considered a one-goal loss a minor evil. It must be said that on the balance of play Tuesday, Anderlecht will be the favourites for the return.

The teams lined up:

Benfica: Yannick, Miguel, Argel, Ricardo Rocha, Dos Santos, Paulo Almeida, Petit, João Pereira, Simão, Zahovic (Bruno Aguiar 60), Sokota (Karadas 72)

Anderlecht: Zitka, Zewlakow (Vanden Borre 83), Kompany, Traore, Deschacht, Baseggio, Hasi, Lovre, Wilhelmsson, Mbo Mpenza (Iachtchouk 77), Aruna

União de Leiria travelled to French side Lille and came away with a promising 0-0 draw in the first leg of one of the three Intertoto Cup finals, which give access to the UEFA Cup. The return is in Leiria on 24 August.

10/08/04

Benfica meet Anderlecht Tuesday in the first leg of the third preliminary round of the Champions League.

Benfica will line up: Yannick, Miguel, Argel, Ricardo Rocha, Dos Santos, Petit, Paulo Almeida, João Pereira, Zahovic, Simão, Sokota

05/08/04

União de Leiria beat the Belgian side Genk 2-0 Wednesday to go through to one of the finals of the Intertoto Cup, which may give access to the UEFA Cup. Fábio Felício got the first on 22 and Edson sealed the victory on the stroke of half-time. UDL now play Lille in the Final, in France on 10 August, in Leiria on 24.

31/07/04

Benfica will face Anderlecht of Belgium in the third preliminary round of the Champions League. The games will be on 10 August (in Lisbon) and 24 August.

29/07/04

União de Leiria drew 0-0 away to Belgian side Genk in the first leg of the semi-final of the Intertoto Cup Wednesday, giving them a good chance of going through to the final.

26/07/04

União de Leiria finished off the job they started a week before and beat Russian side Shinnik 2-1 in Leiria to win their Intertoto cup tie 6-2 on aggregate. Fredy and Fábio Felício put UDL 2-0 up before Lutsenko snatched one back for the visitors. União now meet Genk of Belgium in the semi-finals.

18/07/04

União de Leiria beat Russian side Shinnik 4-1 away in the Intertoto Cup Saturday and look favourites to go through. Laranjeiro equalised the early Russian lead just before the break, and in the second half, Felício, Karev (O.G.) and Edson gave UDL a healthy advantage to take to Leiria.

12/07/04

União de Leiria will face the Russian side Shinnik in the third round of the Intertoto Cup. The first leg is in Russia next Saturday, the second in Leiria the following Saturday.

 

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