FC Porto's James Rodríguez and Helton said playing most the second half with ten men was their undoing at Málaga CF while both rued having only secured a one-goal first-leg lead.
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While neither of them would pinpoint Steven Defour by name, two of FC Porto's better performers in the 2-0 defeat by Málaga CF, Helton and James Rodríguez, spoke frankly about how their Belgian team-mate's 49th-minute red card was a significant factor in their failure to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Both the Colombian and the Brazilian fully accepted that the Dragons did not play to their own high standards but each thought that the burden of competing with only ten men for most the second half was a deciding factor.
James Rodríguez, Porto midfielder
I admit that Málaga are worthy winners but the fact that we only had ten men definitely made things more difficult. The match was already very tight but when Málaga had a man advantage they noticeably thrived. That was our undoing.
We already knew that Málaga were a good team and one that could play quality football. We were full of optimism about going through to the next round and we're all sad to be knocked out. Considering how well we performed in the first leg, tonight we didn't play well.
Helton, Porto goalkeeper
If we'd scored that would have given us a lot of room for manoeuvre – it would have calmed things down. The fact that their first goal and the sending-off came in such quick succession made it very difficult for us to defeat Málaga, who are a good side.
Looking back, had we secured a bigger margin in our favour in the first game when we were on top that would have helped. Nevertheless, we were in good shape to come here and go toe to toe with Málaga. However, we lost to quality opponents with lots of experienced players who have won their spurs at other clubs – that's what makes them such a decent side.