Boavista FC joined city neighbours Porto FC in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup tonight by defeating Málaga CF 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out at the Bessa stadium. The Portuguese team showed tremendous spirit to overcome a first-leg deficit for the fourth time in the competition.
Luiz Cláudio found the net with a stunning free-kick in the 82nd minute to level the aggregate score after Panamanian striker Julio Dely Valdés had given Málaga the advantage in the first leg. But the striker was not the only hero, as goalkeeper Ricardo made a crucial save in the dying minutes of normal time to prevent the Spanish team from sneaking the win.
The shot-stopper then scored his side's first penalty before taking his place in goal to see Leko blast over and hand the home team the advantage. Elpídeo Silva, who had been a font of vision and clever touches all evening, converted his spot-kick, as did Málaga's Miguel Angel. Luiz Cláudio was next on target but Ricardo saved from Bravo, the visiting captain. Then Alexandre Goulart's effort found the net and Boavista were through. "
This was a historic night for Boavista," said coach Jaime Pacheco. "The players deserve all the praise we can give them."
Málaga change tactics
Málaga looked a different side from last week, sitting back in an attempt to protect their lead but Boavista patently had faith they could repeat the heroics that had enabled them to come from behind to see off Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Paris Saint-Germain FC and Hertha BSC Berlin in the current campaign.
Their Andalusian visitors were almost stunned in the second minute when Boavista central midfield player Jocivalter broke clear, drilling a shot centimetres wide of the post. Duda then tapped wide after Paulo Turra headed on at the near post and the Brazilian winger darted down the flank ten minutes later and produced a pinpoint cross for Luiz Cláudio but Miguel Ángel shepherded the ball out of play.
Málaga run ragged
Boavista attacked hungrily at the start of the second half and it was not long before the Portuguese team were running Málaga ragged at the back. Duda outpaced his marker on the left side and crossed dangerously, forcing Josemi to give away a corner. Pedro Contreras then smothered a shot from Pedrosa before Duda provided another excellent cross which the marauding Elpideo Silva headed wide.
Just when it appeared that Málaga would hold firm, Luiz Claudio's free-kick dented the Spaniards' proud defensive record. Joaquin Peiró's charges, who have conceded fewer goals than any other team in European competition this season, could have equalised in the dying minutes but Ricardo was there to deny Dely Valdés. Extra time almost brought a winner from Elpídeo Silva before penalties finally settled matters.