AC Milan 2-3 FC Porto
Porto twice came from behind to edge a memorable five-goal thriller at San Siro, Jardel coming off the bench to contribute two late goals.
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FC Porto completed one of their greatest European away victories after twice coming from behind to overcome AC Milan in a memorable five-goal thriller at San Siro.
The Italian champions, winners of their fifth European Cup two years earlier, took the lead in the 14th minute through Marco Simone, and again midway through the second half, courtesy of George Weah. But each time the visitors, inspired by the dazzling Zlatko Zahovič, hit back, Artur levelling after the interval before Mário Jardel, on as a second-half substitute, struck twice to stun the Rossoneri.
Although depleted by injuries, Milan started with real purpose and a routine opening group win seemed in order when Simone, shortly after Marcel Desailly's long shot had been saved at the second attempt by Andrzej Wozniak, diverted Weah's shot past the Polish goalkeeper. The Italy striker might have scored again on 25 minutes when he met Demetrio Albertini's cross with a first-time volley. Wozniak repelled it, while Weah also came close after a fine pass by Zvonimir Boban.
Porto had offered little, although Paolo Maldini needed to be alert to make a last-ditch tackle on Sérgio Conceição and Paulo Santos tested Sebastiano Rossi on the stroke of half-time. Coach António Oliveira urged a more attacking approach in the second period, however, and it produced the desired effect after eight minutes. Artur received Zahovič's pass, turned Maldini inside out and beat Rossi at his near post.
With Roberto Baggio marked out of the game by the indefatigable Paulo Santos, Porto began to match their esteemed hosts, so it was against the run of play when Milan scored again, Weah connecting with Simone's cross-shot. Unfortunately for the Liberian international, he sustained a freak hand injury from a ring he was wearing, and immediately left the field to be replaced by Edgar Davids.
Porto responded with a substitute of their own and Jardel pounced on confusion in the hosts' penalty area to meet Zahovič's left-wing cross with a firm header. Eight minutes before the end the same two players combined as Jardel trapped Zahovič's low cross before shooting on the turn past Rossi. It was a sign of things to come in the group stage – for both teams.