Vicente del Bosque watched his Real Madrid CF side churn out a 2-1 win over FC Porto in UEFA Champions League Group C and admitted: "Porto made everything very difficult."
Del Bosque delighted
A determined defensive display by the 1998 and 2000 European champions ensured Madrid recorded their fourth consecutive victory to progress to the quarter-final stage - and the coach was delighted as well as relieved: "We got a 2-0 score quite easily, but after that the important thing to stress is that we reached our objective - getting to the next stage," he said. "In spite of everything, it was very difficult."
After Santiago Solari and Iván Helguera put Madrid into a two-goal lead against the run of play, Capucho pulled a goal back for the home side. But despite a string of chances the hosts failed to get back on level terms, leaving Porto coach José Mourinho disgruntled. "The result is unfair," he said. "We had some very good opportunities to score. With two goals down so early in the game, it is very difficult to have the strength and psychological attitude to create goalscoring opportunities, but when we had them we were not efficient enough. We almost recovered, but our opponents knew how to handle us."
'A little bit of hope'
Madrid, who rested Roberto Carlos, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Claude Makelele, Fernando Morientes and Raúl González for the game, need only two more points to be certain of topping the group and give themselves a favourable draw in the last eight. In contrast, Porto must now win both of their remaining games to keep alive their slight hopes of progressing to the knockout stages. Mourinho added: "We are now in a very difficult situation, but we still have a little bit of hope. Yes, we're upset and frustrated because we are a good team. But we have to be realistic - any side that makes two mistakes against a team like Madrid has to pay for them."
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