José Mourinho believed his FC Porto side dominated the first leg of their UEFA Champions League knockout tie with Manchester United FC, and was understandably delighted as his team inaugurated their new Estádio do Dragão with a 2-1 victory.
"We were much better than them," said the Porto coach. "But they still have some of the best players in the world and are one of the best teams in the world." United had made a bright start, Quinton Fortune giving them a 14th-minute lead after Porto goalkeeper Vítor Baía spilled a Paul Scholes shot into his path.
Porto fought back bravely though, with Benni McCarthy equalising on the volley after 28 minutes. The Portuguese champions, unbeaten in the SuperLiga this season, went on to dominate much of the game, and secured victory with another McCarthy goal. "We can expect a very different match at Old Trafford," Mourinho continued. "Our crowd really got behind us tonight and there was a fantastic atmosphere. What I will promise is that we will not go to Manchester and play defensive football."
For Sir Alex Ferguson it was to prove a miserable 100th Champions League game in charge. The United manager was unhappy with the way Porto had dictated the pace of the game and felt his side should have made more of a positive start.
'A disappointing night'
"It was a disappointing night for us; I don't think we deserved anything more than what we got,” he said. "Having started the game so well we sat back. When we got possession we didn't use it well enough, and away from home you have to be really patient in terms of possession."
The United manager added: "I am happy to have escaped with 2-1. We had a really good start to the match and let it slip away from us. We did not play well tonight but we still have a good chance in the return - even Porto recognise that."
Porto's eventual winner again came from the impressive McCarthy, who rose to head powerfully in on 78 minutes, ensuring that all three goals on the night had come from South African players. "It was an incredible header, a fantastic header," Sir Alex generously said. "There's absolutely nothing you can do about something like that."
Old Trafford hope
Despite having captain Roy Keane sent off in the closing stages, Sir Alex was upbeat about his side's chances of reaching the quarter-final stage. "There is plenty of football left in this tie," he said. "
We have got an away goal and can win this game - no question."
Having failed to record a victory on English soil in six attempts, Porto will now be hopeful of ending that jinx when the two sides line up at Old Trafford on 9 March. United, however, will keep their fingers crossed that Fortune's away goal will be a crucial factor in a fortnight's time.
Amstel Man of the Match: Benni McCarthy
Porto's McCarthy has been selected as the Amstel Man of the Match voted by uefa.com users. The South African striker scored both the hosts' goals, the first with a well-struck volley and the second a spectacular header to earn him a convincing 60 per cent of the vote.
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