Classic matches revisited: Monaco 0-3 Porto - Maestro Mourinho makes Portuguese kings of Europe

José Mourinho announced himself to the world with one of the great underdog tournament wins of the Champions League era

Classic matches revisited: Monaco 0-3 Porto - Maestro Mourinho makes Portuguese kings of Europe
Porto lift the crown with Mourinho (R) happy to leave the spotlight for his players | Photo: Bob Thomas/Getty Images

It is a little difficult to explain to the new generation of young football fans, but there was a time when José Mourinho was the exciting up-and-comer in world football.

Far from the tirelessly embittered, forever contrarian figure oh-so-predictably turning Manchester United back into an excellent football team, in 2004 Mourinho was a young coach ready to make European football bend to his will.

Having quit as manager of Benfica after just nine games due to a contract disagreement with newly-appointed club president Manuel Vilarinho, it is probably fair to say that Porto was his first big job in management.

His time served as assistant at the same two Portuguese clubs and Barcelona had served him well, and he was eager to try out his own football philosophy on the biggest stage.

Oddly, it seemed that all of France was out to stop him. Marseille were cast by the wayside in the group stage, as a late turnaround in form after a sluggish start saw Porto follow Real Madrid into the knockout round. 

It took a stoppage-time goal from Costinha at Old Trafford to see Porto through the round of 32, before more French opposition in Lyon were more soundly beaten in the quarter-finals.

One goal was enough to put paid to the challenge of Deportivo La Coruña in the semis, and Mourinho had the event he craved. The Champions League final in Gelsenkirchen was his chance to show the world who and what he was - quelle surpriseAS Monaco stood in his way.

 

Porto recover from sluggish start

It was the principality side who started the better, as captain Ludovic Giuly dominated proceedings from a central position. He had the best chance of the opening portion of the match, with goalkeeper Vítor Baía bravely coming out of his area to make a clean sliding tackle on the Monaco captain as he threatened to break through on goal.

With a quarter of the match played, though, Giuly went down and couldn't continue. With Monaco shorn of their star man, Porto woke up and started to do what Mourinho teams tend to do in cup finals: win.

The Portuguese side took a foothold in the game with Paulo Ferreira threatening from right-back, his crosses from deep causing panic among a shaky-looking Monaco back line. 

Teenage Alberto opens the scoring

A quarter of an hour after Giuly had left the field, 19-year-old Carlos Alberto stole the first goal of the night.

It was another Ferreira cross which brought the goal, with the teenager being given just enough space in the penalty area to try and stab his low ball into the path of Derlei.

The ball ricocheted back his way and he swung an instinctive foot at it, his volley flashing past Flavio Roma and into the top corner before the Italian keeper could think about making a save. To the pleasure of all haters of joy, the teenager who had put his side in front in the Champions League final was promptly booked for removing his shirt in celebration.

Porto were now properly on top of things for the first time in the game but failed to take advantage in the opening stages of the second half. They were let off the hook early in the half as Fernando Morientes found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, only to be pulled back by the offside flag.

 

Alenichev substitution changes the game

As Monaco boss Didier Deschamps sent on attacking reinforcements late in the game, Mourinho picked his moment to turn the screw.

Goalscorer Alberto was replaced by playmaker Dmitri Alenichev, and Mourinho's classic counter-attacking style came into play with Monaco pouring bodies forward.

With 20 minutes to play, one of these counters proved fatal. Diminutive string-puller Deco was the architect, spreading the ball out wide to Alenichev before bursting into the box then holding back, tricking his marker and giving himself enough time to brush the Russian's return ball into the bottom corner.

Porto had time for a decent penalty shout before putting the game to bed just four minutes later. Derlei's pass deflected off Sébastien Squillaci but bounced up in the air for Alenichev to run onto, dropping perfectly for him to slam the final goal of the night in at the near post. 

Monaco didn't give up but Patrice Evra's composure deserted him when their best chance of a consolation dropped at his feet, and Porto stood firm for the last ten minutes to claim their second European title.

 

Champion Mourinho moves to Chelsea

As Porto's coaching staff ran onto the pitch, arm-in-arm at the full-time whistle, you could have been forgiven for thinking that Mourinho was on the losing side. There was no great outpouring of emotion from the manager as his players took the acclaim, but perhaps he had greater heights on his mind.

Two days later, Mourinho was announced to the world as the new manager of Chelsea Football Club. And the rest, as they say, is hist-... sorry. I have nothing to say.

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This is part of a regular feature series, 'Classic Matches Revisited'. Check out the last entry, on one of the greatest ever Milan derbies, here.

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