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UEFA Europa League – FC Porto vs. Braga 1-0, Falcao Goal decided The First Ever All-Portuguese UEFA Final

UEFA Europa League – FC Porto vs. Braga 1-0, Falcao Goal decided The First Ever All-Portuguese UEFA Final

By UEFA.comSC Braga cannot match FC Porto’s form or pedigree, but as captains Vandinho and Helton run the rule over their respective sides ahead of Wednesday’s UEFA Europa League final, it is clear that, in terms of team spirit, they are equals.

Although less than 50km of the A3 motorway separates the two Portuguese sides, Porto and Braga are oceans apart in terms of top-class pedigree. The Dragons wrapped up their 25th Liga title at the beginning of last month, could notch their 16th Portuguese Cup triumph by the end of the week and arrive in Dublin seeking their seventh major international title. Braga’s trophy cabinet contains a lone piece of silverware: the 1955/56 Portuguese Cup.

With 38 points dividing them in the final Liga standings there is a sense that Braga might be outclassed in Dublin, but Braga’s dogged determination has seen them overcome similarly huge obstacles. “We have always taken one game at a time, always believing that anything was possible,” said Vandinho. “We have played as a team and displayed the warrior spirit that made us famous. We had to work very hard and that was the only way to make this final.”

The Arsenalistas accounted for Liverpool FC, FC Dynamo Kyiv and SL Benfica on the way, belying their underdog status time and again. André Villas-Boas’s side are used to the favourites’ tag, however: they have worn it all season. “All players have worked for this,” said Helton, dismissing the notion that it is all too easy for his side. “We’ve got a squad that fights for the same objectives, as we’re accustomed to saying: ‘We all pull in the same direction.’

“Leading up to the final it’ll be the same: we’ll think the same way, work the same way – we don’t have to improve or stop doing something because we’ve reached the final. The objective is always the same.” Porto’s aim over the past two rounds seems to have been to outscore the opposition, following up a quarter-final record 10-3 win against FC Spartak Moskva by beating Villarreal CF 7-4 in the last four.

Goalkeeper Helton, though, is eager for the praise to be shared across the pitch, expressing his gratitude to the “fantastic” four playing just ahead of him. Few defences are the equal of Porto’s attack, as Braga know, but the rank outsiders are not perturbed. “Whatever happens this group is to be congratulated and we will leave the pitch with our heads held high,” said Vandinho. “Just getting to the final is a victory. That said, we want to be champions.” FULL STORY, VIDEO and MORE COVERAGE on UEFA.com

SC Braga overcame SL Benfica 1-0 on the night, and on away goals over two legs, to reach the UEFA Europa League final in Dublin.

Domingos Paciência’s team progressed to the first all-Portuguese UEFA final – the northern club’s debut on such an elevated stage – through a combination of Custódio’s first-half header and the away goal scored by captain Vandinho, suspended here along with Benfica’s Pablo Aimar, seven days earlier. Having restored parity at 2-2 in the tie, Braga bravely resisted everything Jorge

Jesus’s side threw at them to book an 18 May meeting with FC Porto.

FC Porto are through to the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League final after a contest high on commitment and

quality, their 5-1 first-leg advantage proving insurmountable for Villarreal CF – despite the Spanish side’s best efforts.

Falcao produced a record 16th goal of the competition this season just after half-time but it was Hulk who extinguished home hope just before it, cancelling out Cani’s 17th-minute opener. Joan Capdevila’s volley restored pride and Giuseppe Rossi’s penalty ten

minutes from time won it for Villarreal on the night. It was Porto who were celebrating at the end, however, a 7-4 aggregate win setting up a meeting with

SC Braga in Dublin on 18 May.

UEFA Europa League Final

(18 May, Dublin Arena)

FC Porto vs Braga

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UEFA Europa Leauge

Tickets

Semi-finals (28 April and 5 May)

1: Benfica vs Braga 1-0, 1-2 Braga win on away goals

2: Villarreal vs FC Porto 3-2, 4-7 on aggregate

Quarter-final draw (7 and 14 April)

Spartak Moskva (Russia) vs. FC Porto (Portugal) 2-5 Aggregate 3-10

PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) vs. Benfica (Portugal) 2-2 Aggregate 3-6

FC Twente (Netherlands) vs. Villarreal (Spain) 1-3 Aggregate 2-8

SC Braga (Portugal) v FC Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine) 0-0 Aggregate 1-1, Braga win on away goals

Round of 16 Completed

Paris Saint-Germain – Benfica 1-1 (first leg 1-2)

Manchester City – Dynamo Kiev 1-0 (0-2)

Zenit St. Petersburg – Twente Enschede 2-0 (0-3)

FC PortoCSKA Moscow 2-1 (1-0)

Glasgow Rangers PSV Eindhoven 0-1 (0-0)

Villarreal Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 (3-2)

Spartak Moscow – Ajax Amsterdam 3-0 (1-0)

Liverpool FC – Braga 0-0 (0-1)

Knockout phase

From the last 32 until the semi-finals,clubs play two games against each other on a home-and-away basis with the same rules as the qualifying and play-off rounds applied. In the last 32, group winners and the four third-placed sides from the UEFA Champions League with the best records are seeded, guaranteeing they will play the second leg at home. Teams from the same group or the same association cannot be drawn together. From the round of 16 onwards the draw is free.

Final

The final is decided by a single match, which this season will be played in Dublin on Wednesday 18 May.

Chris Reiko was 88 in both legs  Round of 16  UEFA Europa League matches in picking winner or OVER / UNDER results, if you have some info or tips of this game please  comment below or email author.

ALL PREDICTIONS by Chris Reiko CONTACT US

For latest match updates and info  follow Chris Reiko on TWITTER at @ChrisReiko

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