Milan edged Porto to lift the UEFA Super Cup a fourth time.
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AC Milan 1-0 Porto
The 2003 UEFA Super Cup represented, in hindsight, a shift in the balance of power in European football.
AC Milan may have come into the match as European champions, but it was their opponents at the Stade Louis II, Porto, who would replace them as the continent's top side come the end of the season.
Porto coach José Mourinho had announced himself on the European stage in May with a thrilling 3-2 victory against Celtic in the UEFA Cup final, and after another absorbing match in Monaco he had every reason to hold his head up high. Milan won 1-0, but still Mourinho liked what he had seen. "We leave here convinced we can go into the UEFA Champions League with the hope and certainty we can compete with any team," he said. Nine months later he had proved just that.
Before Porto's spectacular story would unfurl, however, Milan would enjoy one more moment in the Monaco sun, thanks largely to Andriy Shevchenko.
The Ukrainian striker had scored the deciding penalty in the shoot-out against Juventus that won the Rossoneri the UEFA Champions League in May, and he was at it again in Monaco where his lone strike was enough to see off Porto's challenge.
Carlo Ancelotti's European champions played with the verve and style that had set them apart the previous season and their early pressure soon told. Rui Costa, in imperious form on the right side of midfield against his countrymen, was the architect of the goal. He twisted and turned away from his namesake Ricardo Costa, then delivered a perfect cross that was headed in by Shevchenko on ten minutes.
Shevchenko shone brightest during a rousing contest that saw both sides create chances. His vision with a pass was as true as his eye for goal and Filippo Inzaghi, Clarence Seedorf and Rui Costa might all have done better with chances initiated by the striker.
Porto, however, weathered the storm and then started creating chances of their own, inspired by Deco and Maniche who both grew in stature as the game progressed. Milan's experienced back line, however, held firm to win 1-0. With the UEFA Champions League about to begin, Mourinho's charges would not be denied for long.