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Porto perform to perfection

AS Monaco FC 0-3 FC Porto Goals from Carlos Alberto, Deco and Dmitri Alenichev secure a resounding win.

Porto perform to perfection
Porto perform to perfection ©UEFA.com

By Adam Szreter at the Arena AufSchalke

FC Porto became only the second side to win the UEFA Cup and the European Champion Clubs' Cup in successive seasons when they carried off the continent's premier club prize for the second time in their history.

Proud history
Seventeen years on from their 2-1 victory against FC Bayern München in the old European Cup final, goals by Carlos Alberto - the third youngest player ever to score in the final - and then Deco and Dmitri Alenichev in the second half wrote another proud chapter in their history. For Monaco, an early injury to their captain Ludovic Giuly hampered their progress and made it an uphill battle, one they inevitably lost.

Midfield reinforcement
Didier Deschamps bolstered his midfield with the inclusion of Edouard Cissé rather than Croatian striker Dado Pršo, while Hugo Ibarra was given the chance to face his former club in place of Sébastien Squillaci, with Gaël Givet moving into central defence alongside Julien Rodriguez. For Porto, the 19-year-old Carlos Alberto got the nod to partner fellow Brazilian Derlei in attack, ahead of South African Benni McCarthy.

Giuly threat
Following much pre-match speculation, Monaco captain Giuly took up a central attacking position from the start, and four times in the opening three minutes his pace nearly caught Porto cold. On three occasions the experience of his opposite number Jorge Costa was just enough to keep him at bay as he darted through, but once, from Lucas Bernardi's searching pass, Vítor Baía had to race from his goalline to effect a risky last-ditch tackle.

Grateful for Givet
Porto responded and Monaco were grateful for Givet's composure, first when he cleared a low cross after a jinking left-wing run by Carlos Alberto; then when he blocked Deco's shot following Flavio Roma's weak punch; and finally when he arrived in the nick of time as Rodriguez struggled to hold off Derlei as the striker chased a high ball forward.

Monaco momentum
But Giuly now came into his own as a playmaker with some deft touches on the edge of the Porto area, setting up Cissé whose cross was tantalisingly out of reach of Bernardi's outstretched leg, then providing Jérôme Rothen with a chance to cross from the other flank but this time Fernando Morientes was just out of range.

Enforced change
Sadly for Monaco, it was to be nothing more than a cameo from their captain as, after just 22 minutes he limped out of the game clutching his midriff, handing the armband to Rodriguez and being replaced by Pršo. Undeterred, Monaco kept their momentum and Nuno Valente became the first player to be booked after a clumsy foul on Cissé, then Morientes was adjudged offside from another astute pass from Bernardi.

Carlos Alberto strikes
The pendulum swung Porto's way when Rothen lost possession to Paulo Ferreira who charged up the right flank and crossed to the near post where Rodriguez just beat Deco to the ball. Five minutes later though Porto took the lead from the same source. This time Paulo Ferreira's cross was a lofted one and it found Carlos Alberto. Unselfishly, he tried to lay the ball off to Derlei but the ball bounced back to the teenager off the hapless Akis Zikos and this time it was despatched with aplomb past Roma's left hand.

Meek Monaco
Up to that point, five minutes from the interval, there had been little to choose between the teams, but in the opening period of the second half Monaco looked shell-shocked, a goal down and minus the inspirational Giuly. Gradually however they crept back into contention as Porto failed to capitalise and only another marginal offside verdict denied Morientes an equaliser.

Tactical changes
On the hour Porto coach José Mourinho withdrew Carlos Alberto in favour of Russian midfield player Alenichev, and four minutes later Deschamps brought on his Congolese striker Shabani Nonda in place of Cissé as Monaco threw caution to the wind.

Deco delight
But as their forays began to founder on the edge of the Porto area, the chance of a decisive counterattack grew more likely. And so it happened when, in the 71st minute, Deco broke clear and found Alenichev on the left. The Russian put the ball straight back into the playmaker's path and Deco stroked home Porto's second.

Resounding finish
Four minutes later the game was as good as over. This time it was Derlei who broke free, and he found Alenichev courtesy of a cross that deflected off Squillaci, by now on for Givet. Alenichev needed no second invitation as he drove the third nail in Monaco's coffin.