FC Porto's achievements in winning the Portuguese League and Super Cup, reaching their domestic cup final and now qualifying for the UEFA Europa League final in Dublin against SC Braga are immensely significant, and there is a sense that the club has some special talents at its disposal right now.
The 7-4 aggregate victory over Villarreal CF, albeit sealed with a 3-2 defeat in Spain, came thanks to Falcao's 16th goal of the tournament, breaking Jürgen Klinsmann's 15-year-old competition record, and was masterminded by the youngest coach in Porto's venerable history. They are a remarkable combination in an admirable team, and humble with it.
Falcao told UEFA.com: "Our team has done something fantastic – to win our league and now reach the final of the Europa League is a dream come true."
Turning to his scoring feats, the Colombian international added: "I feel that my second season in Europe has turned out very well, but there are many things to improve, aspects where I need to teach myself to do better. My job is to score the goals which take the stress away from the team, to make matches easier. I just need to keep doing that."
Falcao converted five times across two glorious legs of attacking football, and will be looking for more in the Irish capital on 18 May. "
For the fans and all the people who are part of the club, getting to the final in Dublin takes us so close to achieving something hugely significant."
Porto's 33-year-old coach André Villas-Boas took immense satisfaction not only from the result but from the way his team bore the test of character during Villarreal's excellent first half-hour. "Our response when we went 1-0 down was decisive," he said. "The players had the ability to transcend the situation when people might have thought their performance would drop. To go down very early and react as we did shows my players' mentality."
If Cani's 17th-minute goal gave the Madrigal crowd hope, Mateo Musacchio's own goal and Falcao's effort either side of the break killed the tie. Not, though, Villarreal's resistance as two more from the home team, from Joan Capdevila and Giuseppe Rossi, showed.
Still, it will be Villas-Boas's Dragons taking on northern neighbours Braga in the showpiece. "We tried to show our identity in these two games," Villas-Boas told UEFA.com. "To win 7-4 is a massive result. The two ties were spectacular because they involved lots of goals each time – from both teams. In these kind of situations the best team wins and, happily, it was us.
Porto have a pedigree in national football but also a great name internationally and to reach a European final after seven years is amazing for this club."
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