Porto beats Braga 1-0 in Europa League final
Porto proved it doesn’t need Jose Mourinho to produce something
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
”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
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
”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
”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
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