Lucho earns Porto point
Portuguese dominant but need late penalty to earn a draw
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: 24/10/07 10:52pm
Porto were left to rue a combination of ill-luck and poor finishing as they left Marseille with only a 1-1 draw from a match they dominated.
The Portuguese giants needed a Lucho Gonzalez penalty 11 minutes from time to steal a share of the spoils, after earlier in the second half Mamadou Niang converted Djibril Cisse's right wing cross.
Marseille's form in Ligue 1 this season has been more Championship than UEFA Champions League and on their first half showing it is easy to see why.
With Cisse largely isolated as a lone striker the home side did little to enthuse a partisan Stade Velodrome crowd, as Marseille played with leggy lethargy against a punchy and easy on the eye Porto.
From the onset and it was Porto that played the more incisive football as twice Marseille were rescued by the width of a post.
The handsomely tattooed Jose Raul Meireles was on both occasions left to rue ill-luck with a pair of identikit strikes from the edge of the box.
His first brought a decisive touch from Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda onto the post, the second, on the 20-minute mark, a looping drive that deserved better.
Porto repeatedly tried to feed Ricardo Quaresma but the man who plays exactly like Cristiano Ronaldo before he realised he has 10 other team-mates, was repeatedly thwarted by the excellent Laurent Bonnart.
Marseille's best effort was a Bolo Zenden free-kick that Da Helton in Porto's goal pushed over with minimum fuss. It was a fair reflection of their attacking paucity.
The start of the second half mirrored much of what had gone before it as Porto were left to rue missed opportunities. A fine header from Lisandro Lopez brought another excellent save from Mandanda, before substitute Helder Postiga relived his Tottenham days with a tepid near post finish when free on goal.
If Porto were beginning to sense it was not to be their night, Niang added a haunting realism to the nightmare when in the 69th minute he broke the deadlock.
Run of play
Cisse's rifled ball across goal was intelligently played into the danger zone and showing a predator's instinct, Niang muscled in front of his marker to bundle home.
It was though to be a short-lived lead, as Porto deservedly drew level 10 minutes later when Lucho calmly slotted home from the penalty spot after Mandanda upended Lopez in the box.
The final 10 minutes were gloriously open but devoid of any real chances; with Cisse's decision to close his eyes rather than head home, one Marseille could well rue later in the competition.
|Marseille||Team Statistics||FC Porto|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|2||Shots off Target||8|
UEFA Champions League
Wed 24th Oct - Group B
Rosenborg2 - 0Valencia
Chelsea2 - 0Schalke
Wed 24th Oct - Group C
R Madrid4 - 2Olympiakos
W Bremen2 - 1Lazio
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Benfica1 - 0Celtic
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