sexta-feira, abril 29, 2011


Embora não seja este o objecto do Tripas e Nortadas, acho que é aqui que devo registar esta humilde opinião.

Este Porto é, seguramente, Vintage, ao contrário do de Mourinho, que me parecia mais uma equipa feita para ganhar. André Vilas Boas fez uma equipa espectáculo. Cada jogo é um hino ao futebol.

Apreciem o relato, realmente neutro, de um jogo de futebol. É o minuto a minuto descrito pelo repórter do The Guardian enviado ontem ao Dragão, para descrever aos leitores o desenrolar da partida referente às meias-finais da Liga Europa.



With the manager of Real Madrid testing out elaborate methods of being banned from football sine die, football could soon be on the lookout for a new Jose Mourinho. Oh look! Here comes one now!

Yes, it's André Villas-Boas. He's just won the Portuguese league with Mourinho's alma mater, Porto, their current record being P27, W25, D2, L0, F64, A13. His side are in the Portuguese Cup final too, as well as the semi-finals of this, having lost only two cup ties all season. He's 33 years old. He's got matinee-idol looks. He's not designed to make you feel better about yourself.

He's not that great at playing football, is about all you can pin on him. He never played professionally, only getting into the game after pestering Bobby Robson for a job at Porto in the mid 1990s.

And we're off! Porto start full of confidence, as you'd expect. Cristian Rodriguez heads a long ball on for himself down the left and hoicks a cross to the far post for Falcao. Diego Lopez hooks the ball away from the striker's head. Ten seconds had elapsed when that had happened.

2 min: Villarreal have hardly touched the ball yet.

5 min: Nilmar looks to scoot down the right wing. Alvaro finds himself in the book for a late lunge, flipping the Villarreal man high into the air.

7 min: Nilmar misses a golden opportunity to give the away side the lead. He's offside by half a yard, but nevertheless allowed to scamper free down the inside-right channel after Valero's pass. He romps into the box and decides to aim for the bottom-right corner, but Helton is wise to his game and parries the ball wide of the post. The corner is wasted. This is a very open start.

10 min: Hulk attempts to swing a free kick into the box from near the right-hand corner flag. His effort doesn't clear the first man. "Ever since the group stages last year, I've sent an email to MBM-ers in every round of the Europa League telling them that that they were all wasting their time, as Andre Villas Boas would lead Porto through a succession of effective performances to the final in Dublin," writes Declan Johnston. "Everytime I was ignored and my email not published. So tonight, I don't know what I want. If you publish this email, I stand to finally get recognition for my foresight, or I will inevitably bring a jinx on myself and Porto will lose 5-0 and I'll look very silly. I think I'll leave my fate in your hands." It's a no-win situation, though, because even if Porto win 5-0, anyone reading this will simply assume that the unpublished emails are a figment of your fecund imagination. These are cynical times. I believe you, though.

14 min: So much for that fast start. This is pretty dull all of a sudden.

17 min: The Yellow Submarine make another couple of sorties down the right through the exciting Nilmar, who both times very nearly breaks clear along his wing. Porto have enjoyed most of the ball, but created very little. Villarreal are carrying more threat of the two, the home side asking for trouble with a very high offside trap.

20 min: You're all out getting gaddered on booze tonight, aren't you. The damage Will and Kate are doing to the nation's collective liver.

23 min: Hulk takes a free kick from 30 yards out. Three rugby points.

25 min: For the nth time in this match already, Nilmar zips free down the right. He gets to the byline and cuts the ball back into the centre past Helton, but Rossi can't convert from close range, bundled out of it by three blue-and-white shirts.

27 min: Hulk is booked for simulation. Do people still use the word simulation? No. He's dived. Anyway, he was chasing a ball into the Villarreal area down the inside-left channel alongside Musacchio, who goes to slide in, then thinks better of it. Hulk doesn't notice the defender's withdrawn his leg, though, and falls over an imaginary challenge. That's a brilliant decision by the referee.

29 min: Porto are being ripped apart at will down the right. Now it's Rossi who tears clear and sees his shot-cum-cross bundled out. From the corner, Marchena attempts a shot from the edge of the area; it's fielded easily by Helton.

31 min: From a central position 25 yards out, Hulk drops a shoulder, edges to the left, then whips a low shot inches wide of Diego Lopez's right-hand post. The closest Porto have come so far, though the keeper had it covered.

34 min: Are you drinking beer? Are you drinking gin? Drinking from a glass? Or swilling from a tin? OK, I'll level with you, I'm bored. This is dismal.

36 min: This is getting old. Two more attacks for Villarreal down the right, one ending with Rossi dinking over the bar from eight yards out in the middle, another clanking off Nilmar's shin. I assume the heralded Villas-Boas is doing nothing about the glaring hole in his defence because Villarreal seem to be on a mission to cock up every chance in as many different ways as possible.

40 min: The Pedro Mendes lookalike Sapunaru cuts inside from the right and shoots wide left.

43 min: God help us.

45 min: GOD HAS HELPED US!!! Porto 0-1 Villarreal. It's been a terrible half of football, but if one team deserved to score, it was the visitors. Predictably, it's come down the right, Nilmar sauntering down the wing in acres before clipping a cross towards the near post, where Cani heads home with the greatest of ease. No defenders in this description, you'll notice.

HALF TIME: Porto 0-1 Villarreal. That Porto defence. Dear me.

And we're off again. You lucky people. "What a dull game!" cries Christoph Wagner. "Villareal deserved the goal but what was the Porto keeper doing? Awful. Yesterday wasn't particularly enjoyable to watch but this game is almost torture to watch."

46 min: Guarin has a lash from distance. The effort just about stays in the stadium. "If he is as good as many say in the intelectual interpretation of an ongoing game then Mr Boas might want to have a look at why on earth he hasn't bothered to change anything so far," writes Ben Dunn. "I'm unaware of the Portuguese for hairdryer, but he needs to avoid a Fergie bollocking and go straight for a Pleat-like analysis of why they are being over-run."

48 min: A ball's rolled straight down the inside-left channel to release Cazorla. He's free into the area, but pulls an aimless cross into the centre instead of shooting. That should have been 2-0, and Porto haven't learned a thing from the first half.

49 min: PENALTY!!! AND GOAL!!! Porto 1-1 Villarreal. Falcao chases after a ball down the inside-left channel into the away area. Diego Lopez comes out at his feet, and though he withdraws his arms, he's too late to stop the striker clattering into him. The keeper is booked - and the next thing he does is pick the ball from the net, Falcao getting up and hammering home an unstoppable effort.

51 min: Cazorla wants to hang his head in shame for missing that chance.

52 min: Nilmar races clear down the right for the umpteenth time. He Cazorlas a low cross that's bundled away by a defender, when it was surely easier to find one of three team-mates in the centre for a tap-in. Villarreal have been outstandingly profligate this evening.

54 min: It's a much better spectacle now, though. Moutinho sends a free kick from the right towards the near post, allowing Rodriguez to head powerfully wide right. That wasn't far away, and a very good effort.

58 min: Hulk takes the worst free kick in the history of All Football. With the box loaded with team-mates, he rolls a pass down the right wing where there are no blue-and-white shirts. The ball turns through 360 degrees about four or five times before being intercepted by a yellow shirt, the player half-surprised at being on the end of such a ridiculous pass.

61 min: Guarin tries to chip Diego Lopez in the Villarreal goal from 35 yards. It's not a bad effort, only just floating over the bar, but even so.

62 min: GOAL!!! Porto 2-1 Villarreal. Guarin gets his goal. He tears down the inside-right channel and into the box. He reaches the byline, checks back, and hammers a shot towards the bottom-right corner. Diego Lopez isn't gettting beaten at his near post, and parries brilliantly, but Guarin is the first to the bouncing loose ball and stoops to head home from close range. What a turnaround. To repeat Ben Dunn's question: what's the Portuguese for hairdryer?

64 min: Porto so nearly score their third straight from the restart, Rossi bundling an effort wide right. Only just wide right, too. Porto were appalling in the first half, but they're now showing the confidence of a team that's only lost twice all season. Villarreal look stunned at the way this half has developed.

67 min: A change for the Yellow Submarine: Valero is replaced by Mubarak.

67 min and a bit: GOAL!!! Porto 3-1 Villarreal. This is beginning to look like a rout. What an odd turnaround. Hulk breaks clear down the right, enters the box, and skelps a crisp cross into the centre, past the drawn Diego Lopez, for Falcao to tap into an empty net.

70 min: The difference between Porto's first-half performance and their second-half display is so marked, you'd be forgiven for wondering if Villas-Boas has been employing rope-a-dope tactics.

72 min: A subfest. Porto exchange Rodriguez for Varela, while Villarreal make two swaps: Nilmar and Cani depart, Ruben and Matilla arrive.

74 min: Catala is booked for a ludicrous lunge on Hulk. He'll miss the second leg of this. Meanwhile here's Oliver Lewis with The Gag Someone Had To Make regarding the first Villarreal substitution: "So that's where that Egyptian dictator went! Do they have room in the squad for Gadaffi?" That's that out of the way, then.

75 min: GOAL!!! Porto 4-1 Villarreal. From the resulting free kick, the ball's whipped into the Villarreal box from the right. With the away defence static, Falcao completes his hat-trick by Keith Houchening a spectacular diving header, guiding the ball deliberately into the top-right corner. That's such a lovely finish, even if the defence was all over the shop.

77 min: Porto have been simply outstanding in this half. Mind you, Villarreal appear to have totally fallen apart.

79 min: Guarin is replaced by Souza.

81 min: This stadium was almost silent for the majority of the first half. It's buzzing now, though.

83 min: Helton is booked for steaming out of his area and deliberately handling the ball under pressure from Rossi. Presumably he's not sent off because the tussle is out by the corner flag, the ball is bouncing and spinning in the cricket style, and he's falling over, thus making it look accidental. Saucy Helton, because Rossi was looking to nick away with that ball, and send it into a packed goalkeeper-free area.

85 min: James Rodriguez is Porto's final substitute, and it's Hulk he's replacing.

87 min: On Channel 5, commentary team Dave Woods and Pat Nevin are cracking gags about Fyodor Dostoyevsky. You don't get this on Soccer AM.

90 min: GOAL!!! AND FOUR FOR THE FANTASTIC FALCAO. Porto 5-1 Villarreal. From a corner on the left, Falcao meets the ball 12 yards out, level with the right-hand post, and guides the ball into the top-left corner. That's another beautifully placed header. This is some performance by the striker, and by Porto. After an opening 45 minutes of the purest tosh, too!

FULL TIME: Porto 5-1 Villarreal. On the back of this match, I think we can safely say that football is a game of two halves. There's a maxim we should look to popularise; pass it on. Anyway, that 45 minutes of outstanding attacking football should have booked Porto's berth in the Dublin final, ensuring an all Portuguese affair. As for the Spanish side, well, the best that can be said is that Riquelme's penalty miss is no longer Villarreal's biggest European semi-final choke. "The wee genius of Mr. Boas seems to have turned that round reasonably well," concedes Ben Dunn. "Looks like the pre-game plaudits were earned." They certainly were, Ben. All hail the power of André's secador de cabelo!

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