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Football

Porto sink United with late strike


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Porto goalscorer Costinha celebrates with teammate Maniche.

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MANCHESTER, England -- A last minute Costinha goal earned Porto a 1-1 draw at Manchester United to send the English champions crashing out of the Champions League.

United appeared on course to progress on the away goals rule after Paul Scholes' header from John O'Shea's cross levelled the first knockout round tie at 2-2 after Porto's 2-1 first leg win.

But the knockout blow came when Benni McCarthy's free kick was only parried by goalkeeper Tim Howard, and Costinha followed up to sweep the ball home.

"To play like this and get a result here was fantastic, not just for Porto and our supporters but the whole of Portugal," said Porto coach Jose Mourinho.

Scholes also had a close-range shot wrongly ruled out for offside just before halftime, leading to a nervous second period for United, who had reached the last eight of the competition in each of the last seven seasons.

Lack of support

Porto, who are unbeaten this season in 28 domestic league and cup games and last lost in any competition to Real Madrid in the Champions League last October, were unadventurous for much of the match and looked set to rue the lack of support given to their lively front pairing of McCarthy and Carlos Alberto.

United were not much better but when they did put together a good move after 32 minutes it led to the opening goal.

A neat one-two with Ryan Giggs set defender O'Shea free on the left and when his cross came over there were four red shirts waiting for it, Scholes heading home at the near post.

Porto could have been back on equal terms minutes later when a miscued clearance by Cameroon midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba put Carlos Alberto through on goal. The Brazilian's shot from was well saved by Howard and Maniche Ribeiro put the rebound over the bar.

Scholes was unfortunate not have got a second goal on the stroke of halftime when he latched onto a loose ball in the Porto area and tucked the ball into the net only for a linesman to wrongly flag him offside.

Porto, European champions in 1987, came out with a more attacking approach to the second half but never really threatened Howard and with United similarly blunt the game was meandering towards a 1-0 home win.

Then came the drama as McCarthy, who got both Porto goals in the first leg, struck his free kick sweetly towards the top corner and Costinha reacted sharpest to shatter United's European dream for another season.

There was still three minutes of injury time for United to try and scramble a goal to send the game into extra time, but Porto, throwing bodies, boots and heads at the ball, held out.

"You get shocks in life but I never saw that one coming," said United coach Alex Ferguson.

"The players have had a terrible blow tonight but there was nothing to be ashamed of put there.

"I don't think it was a great Manchester United performance but I think there was some good play in parts and I thunk we deserved to win."


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