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Opening the doors to Gelsenkirchen

Published: Thursday 6 May 2004, 14.00CET finds the Portuguese and French press revelling in FC Porto and AS Monaco FC reaching the final. features

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Published: Thursday 6 May 2004, 14.00CET

Opening the doors to Gelsenkirchen finds the Portuguese and French press revelling in FC Porto and AS Monaco FC reaching the final.

Since the third qualifying round concluded on 27 August 2003, 124 matches have been played in this season's UEFA Champions League. And finally, two teams have won through to the final in Gelsenkirchen on 26 May, after FC Porto eliminated RC Deportivo La Coruña and AS Monaco FC did likewise to Chelsea FC. rounds up the media reaction to this week's semi-final second legs.

Deportivo 0-1 Porto (agg: 0-1)
From the first hour of the morning, the entire city was festooned in blue and white. Windows, buses, kiosks, shops, banks, bars and María Pita Square - with its stunning flag draped from the balcony which yelled, 'Come on Depor!' almost as loudly as the chanting fans, the car horns and the songs of the fishmongers in the market on Pontevedra Square. But nobody, least of all the players, could escape the sporting curse. Just like in 1994, a penalty shattered the dream. In contrast to the contained euphoria of the early hours, the night-time streets were deserted until, finally, a feeling of desolation with the realisation of how that long-awaited place in the final had escaped Depor. (El Correo Gallego)

A fantastic exhibition from Porto, whose superior tactics catapulted them into a second European Cup final. The Dragons wrote one more golden page into their history and are now within reach of accomplishing a feat that only Liverpool have achieved so far: winning different European competitions in successive seasons. Derlei returned in attack and proved pivotal in the victory, his penalty past Molina opening the doors to Gelsenkirchen. While everybody speaks about the future of Mourinho, we can only say that his work at Das Antas is superb. (A Bola)

Chelsea 2-2 Monaco (agg: 3-5)
Chelsea dreaded punishment for their botched work in the first episode of this semi-final but could never have believed they would be so cruelly tantalised last night. With a 2-0 lead they were even ahead on the away-goals rule before Hugo Ibarra's disputed goal steered Monaco towards a comeback completed by Fernando Morientes. A place in the final against Porto in Gelsenkirchen on May 26 is still deserved for the team coached by the former Stamford Bridge midfielder Didier Deschamps. They have been the more coherent side and Claudio Ranieri, who will soon be dismissed, is left to be proud of the intrigue and excitement that Chelsea inspired for a time. (The Guardian)

Who would have believed a year ago, six months ago that on this Thursday morning in May we would be celebrating the progress of this incredible Monaco side to the Champions League final, while waiting hungrily for the same from Marseille in the UEFA Cup. A year ago, six months ago, even after the incredible 8-3 against Deportivo which could have triggered this whole thing - or at least convinced the winners that night that anything was possible on the playing fields of Europe - to imagine a French presence in the final was the stuff of sweet fantasy. (L'Equipe)

Last updated: 06/05/04 15.01CET

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