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Moutinho goal gives Porto slender advantage

Updated: 2013-02-21 07:43
By Reuters in Porto, Portugal ( China Daily)

 Moutinho goal gives Porto slender advantage

Porto's Joao Moutinho (right) is challenged by Malaga's Antunes during their Champions League match at the Dragao stadium in Porto on Tuesday. Moutinho scored in the second half, the only goal in a 1-0 victory in the first-leg match. Miguel Vidal / Reuters

Joao Moutinho's second-half goal was enough to give Porto a 1-0 win over Malaga in a cagey first-leg at the Estadio do Dragao on Tuesday.

The host dominated the opening period but failed to create a clear opening until six minutes after the break when Alex Sandro's fine pass was swept past Willy Caballero first-time by Moutinho, although replays showed the Portuguese international may have been offside.

Porto was then happier to hold onto its advantage than go in search of a second, and with Malaga unable to muster any sort of response, the tie is delicately balanced heading into the return at La Rosaleda in three weeks.

"Whether it is a good result or not we will see at the end of 180 minutes," Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini said.

"To lose is never good, but losing by just the one goal is the best thing we can take from the game.

Moutinho goal gives Porto slender advantage

"For all the possession Porto had, they didn't create many clear-cut chances and even the goal itself is offside.

"You have to give credit to Porto for the way they pressed us all over the pitch, but we have to apply the same pressure in Malaga.

"We can still turn the tie around at La Rosaleda. We have demonstrated this year that we can compete with anyone," said Pellegrini.

Porto boss Vitor Pereira was much happier with his men but lamented not killing the tie off with a second goal.

"We played a complete game, we dominated and pressed them which is what I like to see," he said.

"We were playing a great team and we completely took the initiative from them, but it was a shame not to have scored the second goal."

Malaga's only previous defeat in European competition had also come in the city of Porto, to Boavista in 2003, and it slipped to a similar fate after failing to have a single shot on target throughout the 90 minutes.

(China Daily 02/21/2013 page22)

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