The chances of an all-Portuguese UEFA Cup final haveincreased after impressive results for the country’s representatives in their semi-final ties.
Porto stunned Italian side Lazio with a 4-1 victory, while Boavista held Celtic to a 1-1 draw in Glasgow.
A delighted Porto coach Jose Mourinho said: “It’s not a normal score in a European semi-final. With two strong teams the result is not normally like that. But I must say it’s fully deserved. We were much better than Lazio. This doesn’t mean we are better than them, but today we played better and could have scored more goals.”
In contrast, Lazio coach Roberto Mancini said: “This is a very bad result. I have to admit it will be very difficult to turn things around in the second leg. But I can promise we will do everything to score as many goals as we can. Let’s wait for an inspired night. We’re not out yet.”
Meanwhile, Boavista coach Jaime Pacheco was trying to dampen expctations afterhis side’s hard-fought draw with Celtic.
“I am as optimistic as I was before the game. We had five or six first-choice players missing so it was a really big effort from us and the players had to give their best. Celtic are a great team and we had to play practical football in recognition of that.”
Celtic manager Martin O’Neill refused to blame Henrik Larsson for his side’s failure to win the match. Larsson, who scored Celtic’s equaliser, subsequently missed a second-half penalty.
“It was unfortunate we had the penalty miss,” he said.
“Henrik Larsson will be disappointed but that is the game and no one is rushing to blame him.”
“There is a massive prize on offer and we will be up for it,” he added.
No teams from the same city have ever met in a European final but there is every chancethat could happen in May in Seville.
SEMI-FINAL 1ST LEG
Celtic 1-1 Boavista
Celtic: Larsson 50
Porto 4-1 Lazio
Porto: Ribeiro 10, Silva 27, 50, Helder Postiga 56