By Pete Sanderson at Stade Gerland
FC Porto reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in ten years with an impressive away draw against Olympique Lyonnais in a breathless encounter.
Two goals from midfield player Maniche early in each half left a lively Lyon side ruing a below-par first-leg performance and earned the Portuguese champions a meeting with RC Deportivo La Coruña in the final four. Porto's counterattacking football was at times a sight to behold in a game that highlighted Lyon's attacking prowess but exposed their defensive vulnerability.
It was clear from the outset that the match was going to be dominated by attacking football. Lyon coach Paul Le Guen adopted a typically aggressive formation as his team went in search of their first two-goal victory in the Champions League this season, Edmílson anchoring a three-man defence behind a five-man midfield with Juninho Pernambucano the linchpin. With Sidney Govou injured, Giovane Elber partnered Péguy Luyindula in attack. José Mourinho opted for a similarly positive formation, employing Deco behind Benni McCarthy and Carlos Alberto in attack.
Buoyed by a vibrant atmosphere at the Gerland engineered by the vociferous home support, Lyon began the brighter, with Luyindula finding the net from Elber's flick only to be denied by the assistant referee's flag. Undeterred, Luyindula was again tormenting the Porto defence seconds later but his fourth-minute shot was well saved by Vítor Baía.
But, with every drop of energy invested in a forward push as they frantically sought a way back into the tie, Lyon were always going to be vulnerable at the back, and in the sixth minute the wheels came off as Porto scored a vital away goal. Costinha engineered the chance, skipping past two players down the left before finding Deco. The playmaker threaded a perfectly-weighted ball to Maniche whose first-time shot gave Grégory Coupet no chance and found the top corner.
Lyon hit back
If Porto thought this would be the undoing of the French champions they were in for a shock. After two rasping shots from Juninho and a thunderous Michael Essien effort, Lyon found themselves back on level terms. Florent Malouda raced down the left, escaping the attentions of Paulo Ferreira, before cutting the ball back for Luyindula, who controlled well before stabbing a shot beyond Vítor Baía.
The goal gave the home side renewed hope and, with Malouda and Essien providing useful service from the flanks, Lyon took control of the game. However, despite a remarkable 16 shots on goal, the score remained the same at half-time, with a sprawling stop from Elber's shot Vítor Baía's only other save of note.
Porto too had looked dangerous every time they ventured into Lyon territory. And, with Lyon continuing their push for the three goals they needed to win the tie in the opening moments of the second half, Maniche ended the hosts' Champions League dream once and for all two minutes after the restart.
Deco weaved some magic down the left before sending a teasing cross towards Maniche and the midfield player, who was rated doubtful for the match, made no mistake, arrowing a stunning volley beyond Coupet from ten metres out.
Despite losing Edmílson to a second yellow card in the 74th minute, Elber's last-minute header at least preserved Lyon's unbeaten home record in the competition. It was scant consolation, however, as his lack of celebration proved.