Falcao was inevitably the hero for FC Porto (with Romanian player Cristian Sapunaru in the team) as his 17th goal of the competition earned Andre Villas-Boas’s side victory on Wednesday night against northern Portuguese rivals SC Braga in Dublin (final score 1-0), and the UEFA Europa League title, uefa.com informs.
The all-conquering Liga champions’ prolific strike force were enduring rare frustration as Braga defended with the cohesive strength they have made their own this term. Then, a minute before half-time, a rare lapse brought their downfall, Falcao applying the killer blow as he directed a header into the far corner. One moment just after the interval aside, when Mossoro squandered a golden opportunity, the result was never really in doubt from then on.
FC Porto edged ahead of Manchester United FC in the all-time honours list by winning the UEFA Europa League to seal their seventh piece of international silverware. The recently crowned Portuguese title winners added the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League crown to their two European Champions Clubs’ Cups, gained in 1987 and 2004, the 1987 UEFA Super Cup, the UEFA Cup title they claimed in 2003, and their two European/South American Cup crowns from 1987 and 2004.
“This is a massive success for Porto – we have shown we have really top players. This trophy was the one we wanted most, we almost felt obliged to win it. We became more and more confident through our European campaign and that helped us deliver today. (…) I’d like to dedicate this trophy to my technical staff, the players and the supporters. And I should also pay compliments to Jose Mourinho, Josep Guardiola and Sir Bobby Robson. Porto is my home town and is a club I am a fan of. I want to build something I’m proud of. I want to have a lot of talent around, and I have been able to work with the best structure around”, Andre Villas-Boas, Porto coach told uefa.com after the game
In his turn Falcao, Porto striker and SEAT Man of the Match said: “It was great to score the goal, both because we have achieved our ambition as a team and also, personally, because I was delighted to be the best scorer in this tournament. We can be very proud of ourselves. I celebrated with [non-playing squad member] Mariano Gonzalez because he, and the other players who didn’t play, are very important to us.
We have had a great campaign in the Europa League and now we take our high expectations into the Champions League. Our secret is we work hard as a team and get on well together like a family. Every player knows his role and we play for the good of the team. It is not easy to manage 24 players and keep them happy, so it is thanks to the coach that every player felt wanted and remained motivated”.