Porto beats Braga 1-0 in Europa League final

Porto proved it doesn’t need Jose Mourinho to produce something

special.

Eight years after Mourinho led Porto to the 2003 UEFA Cup title,

another young Portuguese coach helped the club to victory in the

same tournament that helped launch the Special One.

Radamel Falcao scored in the 44th minute, giving Porto and

33-year-old coach Andre Villas-Boas a 1-0 victory over Braga on

Wednesday night in an all-Portuguese final of the Europa

League.

”You can dream about goals, and we dreamed the most about

winning this tournament,” Villas-Boas said. ”I believe we always

felt obliged to win the Europa League. We sort of felt we owed it

to ourselves.”

After winning the 2003 UEFA Cup, Mourinho led Porto to the title

in the 2004 Champions League, Europe’s top club tournament. He went

on to win the English Premier League with Chelsea in 2005 and 2006,

then won consecutive Serie A titles with Inter Milan 2009 and 2010.

He also led Inter to the 2010 Champions League title before

switching to Real Madrid.

In winning the continent’s No. 2 club competition, which was

renamed last season, Villas-Boas became the youngest coach with a

European title. In his first season at Porto, he has downplayed

comparisons to Mourinho and said he wasn’t the key factor in the

club’s success.

”I’m just a gear in a very effective club, with super talents.

That’s the reality,” Villas-Boas said. ”Players are decisive in

the game of football.”

Having gone into coaching as a teenager, Villas-Boas said he

doesn’t plan to emulate figures such as Manchester United manager

Alex Ferguson by remaining on the sidelines for decades.

”I hope to have a very short career,” he said with a laugh,

adding that he only expects to stay at the top level for about

another decade.

”It’s very stressful.” he said. ”I have ambition to leave a

mark on the game, and I have an ambition to win much more, don’t

get me wrong. … I am ambitious, and the people around me are

ambitious. But everyone has their own prospects.”

Falcao played little part in the match before breaking away from

his marker to score, heading a perfect cross from Fred Guarin into

the top corner.

”The big secret of this team is that we’re a big family, a

family that gets on well,” Falcao said. ”We’re a very humble

team. … We always play for the good of the entire team, and when

we play like that, each player will give his best.”

Porto also won this season’s Portuguese league with a 30-0-3

record. It tries to complete a treble when it plays Guimaraes in

Sunday’s Portuguese Cup final.

”There’s only one trophy missing, which is the Portuguese

Cup,” Villas-Boas said. ”I do hope my team can win another

trophy.”

Substitute Mossoro nearly scored for Braga one minute into the

second half but his low shot was saved by Helton.

Braga was playing in its first major European final after

ousting another Portuguese power, Benfica, in the semifinals.

”The difference lies in the details, small details that may

change the result of a match,” Braga coach Domingos Paciencia

said. ”It’s not easy to lose, but I think our players have every

reason to be proud of our efforts.”

Villas-Boas will enter next season hoping to match Mourinho’s

feat of following the No. 2 title with a victory in the Champions

League, which has been the exclusive domain of England, Spanish and

Italian clubs since Porto’s win.

”If you think that Porto 2003-2004 was amazing, Porto is back

in a final in 2011, and that is something very, very good and

important,” Villas-Boas said. ”The only thing we have to regret

today was that the spectacle wasn’t up to the Portuguese

standards.”