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Porto end Celtic's Uefa dream

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Celtic 2-3 FC Porto (aet) Porto shattered Celtic's hopes of winning their first European trophy for 36 years with a dramatic Uefa Cup final victory in Seville.

Martin O'Neill's side twice fought back from behind against the Portuguese champions on a night of searing temperatures and fluctuating fortunes.

But Porto snatched a late extra-time winner, with Celtic reduced to ten men after defender Bobo Balde was shown the red card.

Derlei and Dmitri Alenitchev twice gave Porto the lead - only for the magic of Henrik Larsson to put Celtic level on each occasion, rekindling hopes of adding to their 1967 European Cup win in Lisbon.

But when Derlei restored Porto's lead with only five minutes of extra-time left, Celtic could not mount another recovery, and O'Neill's gallant side were left disconsolate.

SEVILLE HIGHLIGHTS
  • 45 mins: Derlei puts Porto in front.
  • 47 mins: Henrik Larsson heads Celtic level.
  • 54 mins: Dmitri Alenitchev restores Porto's lead.
  • 56 mins: Larsson heads home to put Celtic back on terms.
  • 115 mins: Derlei restores Porto's advantage.

  • Celtic were backed by a wall of noise from the massed ranks of their fans - and spirits were lifted when Porto suffered an early injury setback.

    Influential midfielder Francisco Costinha collapsed making a pass and was stretchered off with a thigh injury.

    Porto had the first half's most influential performer in striker Deco, who was a constant threat to the Celtic defence.

    He forced Joos Valgaeren into a tackle which earned the defender a booking, then forced a fine diving save from Rab Douglas four minutes before the interval.

    Celtic's response was muted, with Larsson's long-range free-kick the only serious threat to Vitor Baia.

    Porto deservedly took the lead in first-half injury time - and predictably Deco was the orchestrator.

    Deco's cross found Alenitchev unmarked, and even though Douglas saved his volley, the rebound fell invitingly for Derlei to score.

    Celtic needed an instant response after the break, and the talismanic Larsson provided it within two minutes of the restart.

    He rose brilliantly to meet Didier Agathe's cross to head beyond Baia to score his 200th goal for the club.

    Celtic were only on terms for seven minutes before another piece of magic by Deco ended with a pass that opened up the Celtic rearguard for Alenitchev to steer a cool finish past Douglas.

    But this topsy-turvy final had burst into life, and Larsson restored equality for Celtic after 56 minutes.

    Alan Thompson's corner found the Swede unmarked and he flashed another poweful header past Baia.

    Aleitchev had a glorious opportunity win the game for Porto in the dying seconds of normal time when he was gifted the ball by substitute Jackie McNamara, but he blazed wildly over the top from 18 yards.

    Celtic were reduced to 10 men four minutes into extra-time when giant defender Balde was sent off for his second bookable offence following a wild challenge on Derlei.

    The first period of extra-time - with the so-called "silver goal" decider - passed without serious opportunities for either side.

    But Porto were back in front with five minutes left when Derlei collected a loose ball to fire past the stranded Douglas.

    Porto's Nuno Valente was also sent off for a second bookable offence in the closing seconds, but by then Celtic's challenge had been snuffed out.

    Celtic: Douglas, Balde, Mjallby, Valgaeren (Laursen 64), Agathe, Lennon, Lambert (McNamara 76), Petrov (Maloney 104), Thompson, Sutton, Larsson.
    Subs Not Used: Hedman, Sylla, Fernandez, Smith. Sent Off: Balde (95). Booked: Valgaeren, Lennon, Balde, Petrov. FC Porto: Vitor Baia, Ferreira, Nuno Valente, Jorge Costa (Pedro Emanuel 71), Ricardo Carvalho, Costinha (Ricardo Costa 9), Alenichev, Maniche, Deco, Capucho (Marco Ferreira 98), Derlei.
    Subs Not Used: Nuno, Cesar Peixoto, Clayton, Tiago. Sent Off: Nuno Valente (120). Booked: Nuno Valente, Derlei, Maniche, Marco Ferreira.

    Attendance: 52,972 Referee: Lubos Michel (Slovakia).

    Seville warms to Celtic fans

    Alasdair Lamont
    BBC Sport in Seville

    Imagine living in a city where the sun shone more often than it rained, where the architecture and culture dated back to the 7th century and beyond and life was lived at a serene pace where no-one was ever in too much of a hurry.

    Hold that thought and then imagine it suddenly being invaded by a foreign army. Not just any army, but an army of pasty-faced, beer-drinking, football-loving men and women who had come to take over the city, if only for a few days.

    That place is Seville and the conquering army is an ever-growing band of Celtic supporters.

    I have fond memories of this beautiful Andalucian city from a trip three years ago. It is a far more "Spanish" city than Barcelona or even Madrid, despite the obvious Moorish influence, in that it is relatively untarnished by the effects of tourism and a cosmopolitan population.

    So how, I wondered, would it look draped in green, white and gold?

    Well, not too bad as it turns out. The 15th century cathedral has become a focal point for the followers of Martin O'Neill's men- or, rather, the Irish pub Flaherty's across the road has become the focal point and the cathedral provides an interesting backdrop.

    On arriving on Monday night, more than 48 hours before kick-off, there were already a couple of thousand Celtic fans drinking and partying in this particular "zona" with many more ensconced in other Irish bars elsewhere in the city.

    By Tuesday morning, the same was still true. Many, it seemed, had not been to bed. But they had, only their bed was the concrete steps of the cathedral.

    For this Celtic band are a hardy bunch. Alright, so sleeping rough in Seville may not be the hardship that a similar experience in the pouring rain of Glasgow would provide, but it still gets cold at night and many of these guys had no more than their short-sleeved Celtic jerseys to keep them warm.

    One family I spoke to had spent the night sleeping outside the railway station. Not only that, but they have no tickets for the game, which surely makes that penance all the greater.

    The Murphys, from Fife, were still trying desperately to get a hold of tickets for Wednesday night's game.

    "I was offered a ticket for 700 Euros," said Brendan. "But you've got to be wary of forgeries."

    Nonetheless, they were not complaining and, like many others, they were here not only for the festivities but to sample the local culture as well.

    "We tried to get into the cathedral to say a prayer when we arrived, but it was closed, so we're going in when it opens this morning," said Thomas.

    "It's some place and the locals have been great."

    The Murphys' mother is joining her family in Seville on Wednesday. "She broke her hip a few weeks ago, so she's coming out with her stick. Nothing would keep her away," said daughter Agnes.
    But many are going to extraordinary lengths to be part of this wonderful occasion in the club's history.

    The Murphys told me of a young man they had encountered sleeping at the train station - an Israeli Celtic fan over for the game.

    Gerry O'Neill had just arrived from Sydney and told me of a number of others he knew were coming from Australia.

    He was one of the lucky ones who had managed to get a ticket, but it is estimated that around 20,000 will arrive here without one.

    The heady mixture of sun, beer and freedom can sometimes be a recipe for disaster, but Pili, the owner of a souvenir shop next to Flaherty's, is not concerned. "They are happy, they don't seem violent, they're just having a good time," she said.

    "Obviously it could change because they've started drinking very early (it was 11am), but I don't think there will be trouble."

    One local, Cristobal Sanchez, said he had only seen scenes like these once before in the city, when Barcelona played Steau Bucharest in a previous Uefa Cup final. But, with most Celtic fans yet to arrive, he admitted that even that occasion would be dwarved.

    So Celtic fans have embraced Seville and the city seems to quite like them too. Long may that continue.
    Story from BBC SPORT:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport1/hi/football/europe/3044227.stm


    Brave Bhoys can take pride

    By Alasdair Lamont
    BBC Sport in Seville
    For Celtic, the dream has finally ended. But what a dream it was, and how close it came to coming true.

    Pride, rather than disappointment, rightly appears to be the prevalent mood of the Celtic support that was still occupying three-quarters of the Estadio Olimpico long after the final whistle has sounded. This was a performance that deserved more than a collection of runner-up medals.

    Celtic's display was courageous and spirited - the performance of a team of winners.

    This despite an intense heat that scarcely dipped below oppressive - and that was just in the stands.
    The first half was unremarkable and Porto perhaps deserved their narrow lead.

    But the second half was nothing short of astonishing as twice Celtic equalised after it seemed Porto had done enough by edging ahead.

    All this at a pace that defied the sizzling temperature and a long season that has been extended by this remarkable Uefa Cup run.

    Even when the game went into extra time and Bobo Balde was ordered off, Celtic's energy levels remained high and it seemed that the 10 men might hold out and take the game to penalties.

    Porto played the better football on a pitch that had been heavily criticised beforehand, correctly so, for it did not do justice to an occasion such as this.

    Few could deny them the trophy, but it is difficult to feel anything other than deep sympathy for the legions of Celtic fans who made the journey to Spain from far and wide.

    Their support was truly magnificent throughout, although they stopped short of applauding the winners, after the game was soured by a series of dives and over-reactions by the Portuguese players. This was the one sour note, for a team as talented as Porto should not need to resort to such tactics.

    But that is the way of the modern game and it has become a new method of gaining the advantage over less wily opposition.

    So, this was a disappointing finale to an historic cup run, but the Celtic players have taken a huge step on behalf of Scottish football, which has so long been in the European doldrums.

    It is to be hoped that both Celtic and Rangers can follow this achievement by making an impression on next season's Champion's League.

    Othewise, all of Martin O'Neill's men's efforts may have been in vain, and that would be an even greater disappointment.

    Story from BBC SPORT:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport1/hi/football/europe/3048881.stm

    Published: 2003/05/22 00:01:10 GMT

    No silver lining for Larsson

    By Alasdair Lamont in Seville
    Swedish striker Henrik Larsson insists his two-goal haul was no consolation for Celtic's Uefa Cup final defeat in Seville.

    Larsson scored both goals as the Bhoys twice battled back from behind and his performance was hailed as "world class" by Celtic boss Martin O'Neill.

    But the dejected Larsson insisted there was nothing to be pleased about following the extra-time defeat in the Estadio Olimpico.

    "It is no consolation whatsoever," he told the BBC Sport website.

    "I've said before, I'd much rather not score and be able to lift the Uefa Cup, than to score twice and finish up on the losing side.

    "There's nothing to be happy about, but now we have to find a way to lift ourselves for the league game on Sunday."

    The feeling among the Celtic players was that they could - and perhaps should - have won a game in which they never led.

    Stilian Petrov told this website of the disappointment felt by all of the players. "I thought we deserved to win," he said.

    "It was really hard to walk past the Uefa Cup without being able to pick it up.

    "But I think our performance will have made the supporters proud of us and we did Scotland proud as well."

    Didier Agathe was equally inconsolable, but admitted the players had to remain focused with Sunday's crucial league match against Kilmarnock still to come.

    "It's very hard to accept because we put so much effort into it, coming from behind twice, but that's football," said the Frenchman.

    "But it's good to know that Scottish football is good enough to compete at a high level in Europe.

    "Now we need to win the league and we'll do everything to make that happen."

    John Hartson missed the game through injury, but was as devastated as the rest of the squad at having missed out on the club's first European silverware in 36 years.

    "The boys did very well. Porto were the better team in the first half but we did brilliantly to get it back to 1-1 and then 2-2.

    "I thought we would go on and win it after that, but it wasn't to be."

    Martin O'Neill was scathing of the play-acting of the Portuguese players and Hartson admitted that he had been disappointed in their tactics.

    "The reaction of the Celtic fans at full time showed they're a very fair-minded crowd and they let Porto know what they thought of them.

    "But now that we've had a taste of these big European nights, we want more and hopefully we'll be back in the Champions League next season."
    Story from BBC SPORT:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport1/hi/football/europe/3049117.stm

    Euro dream ends in heartbreak

    Celtic fans were left heartbroken after the club's Uefa Cup dream ended in defeat in Seville. A goal deep into extra time gave Porto a 3-2 win over the Glasgow side in the final.

    But supporters remained defiant as they praised their side's efforts in reaching the club's first European final in 36 years.

    An estimated 50,000 Celtic supporters created a party atmosphere in Seville as the city was swelled by what Uefa described as the largest travelling support ever to have assembled for a single game. Despite the defeat, the legion of fans gave the team a rousing ovation after the final whistle.

    'Absolutely gutted' The result dampened celebrations in Glasgow, where thousands of fans had packed pubs showing the game live.

    Many supporters were left in tears after watching the match in Kelly's Irish Bar in the south side of Glasgow.

    Andrew McLeod, 26, said: "I am absolutely gutted.

    I am heartbroken, especially for the players who put up a good fight
    Gillian Wilson
    Celtic fan
    "It would have been a dream come true, and at one stage I thought it would go to penalties.

    "The boys played their hearts out and I take my hat off to them."

    Gillian Wilson, 34, said she thought Celtic had been the better team.

    "Disappointed is an understatement, I am heartbroken, especially for the players who put up a good fight.

    "They certainly didn't let us down," she said.

    The political tributes to the team were led by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    "Celtic did the country proud tonight. To come back twice and lose was the cruellest disappointment," he said.

    "The team fought hard and deserved credit for their performance tonight and throughout the tournament."

    Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell said: "Celtic may have lost but Scotland gained friends across Europe.

    "The whole team and the manager showed passion, bravery and ability.

    "They, their supporters and all of Scotland can be proud of their performance and their sportsmanship."

    Glasgow's Lord Provost, Liz Cameron, said the club had put the city back on the European sporting map.
    Extra time "Despite Celtic's heartbreaking defeat this evening, the team performed magnificently," she said.

    A goal by Porto's Derlei in extra time clinched the trophy for the Portuguese side.

    Henrik Larsson had twice equalised for Celtic in a roller-coaster second half at the Stadio Olympico.

    Celtic had been hoping to become the first Scottish team to win the Uefa Cup.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/scotland/3048657.stm

    Uefa Cup final player ratings

    Marks out of 10 for the Celtic and Porto players during the Uefa Cup final. Celtic
    Rab Douglas: The keeper had an excellent game on his return from injury and made several vital stops - but had no chance with any of the three Porto goals.

    Johan Mjallby: Made an uncertain start but returned to the commanding form that won him so many caps for Sweden.

    Bobo Balde: Improved after a nervous start but was sent off in extra time after receiving a second yellow card following a mis-timed tackle.

    Joos Valgaeren: Another who began with some butterflies, Valgaeren was booked after seven minutes, his poor clearance led to Porto's opener and he then went off injured.

    Didier Agathe: Made some penetrating runs down the right and finally found his man with a cross for Larsson's first of the night.

    Paul Lambert: Was the main creative force in the Celtic midfield and fought hard to add a Uefa Cup winner's medal to the Champions League one he gained with Borussia Dortmund.

    Neil Lennon: Combined his normal holding role with a marking job but had his work cut out matching the pace of man-of-the-match Deco.

    Stilian Petrov: Bulgarian midfielder found it difficult to get into the game or make his normal lethal runs into the box.

    Alan Thompson: The midfielder was forced deeper into defence than he would have liked, although he picked out some excellent passes with his trusty left foot.

    Chris Sutton: Won his personal battle in the air with Jorge Costa, with the Englishman's little flick-ons just failing to fall to his team-mates.

    Henrik Larsson: Headed home the first equaliser superbly for his 200th goal for Celtic and followed it up with his second of the night in what was probably his best-ever game for the Scottish champions.

    Substitutes
    Ulrik Laursen (replaced Valgaeren): The Danish defender made some vital interceptions.

    Jackie McNamara (replaced Lambert): The Scotland midfielder found it difficult to adjust to the pace of the game after coming on late and almost gifted Porto a last-minute winner in normal time.

    Shaun Maloney (replaced Petrov): The young striker was introduced in extra time and the Scotland Under-21 international twice came close to setting up a winner for Celtic.

    Porto
    Vitor Baia: The experienced international goalkeeper looked nervous on crosses but had little chance with Larsson's two goals.

    Paulo Ferreira: The defender worked hard, but his poor marking was partly at fault for Larsson's second goal.

    Jorge Costa: The tough defender was bullied by Sutton, was lucky not to be booked for an early foul on Larsson and was substituted midway through the second half.

    Ricardo Carvalho: Made some vital challenges and looked cool and calm at the heart of the Porto defence.

    Nuno Valente: The full-back produced some excellent runs down the left but was sent off in extra-time for a second yellow card.

    Francisco Costinha: The defender was struck down with a pulled muscle after only six minutes.

    Maniche: The quiet man in the Porto midfield peppered the Celtic goal with some accurate and powerful drives every time he was in range.

    Dmitri Alenichev: The destroyer to Deco's artisan in the Porto midfield made some dangerous runs into the Celtic box and finished with aplomb for his side's second goal.

    Deco: Was man-marked by Lennon, but you would never have guessed as the Brazilian-born maestro's breathtaking skills lit up the first-half like a latter-day Maradona. Set up both Porto goals before tiring.

    Nuno Capucho: Started well, winning headers against the taller Celtic defenders before drifting out of the game.

    Derlei: Sullied his reputation with some blatant play-acting but was always dangerous up front and showed good positional sense to open the scoring then score the winner.

    Substitutes
    Ricardo Costa (replaced Costinha): Became the youngest player in the final as an early substitute but failed to get close enough to Larsson at both Celtic goals.

    Pedro Emanuel (replaced Costa): Was quiet and efficient coming on in the second half at the heart of the defence.

    Marco Ferreira (replaced Capucho): Introduced in injury time as Porto attempted to take advantage of their extra man.
    Story from BBC SPORT:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport1/hi/football/europe/3047207.stm

    Unlucky Celtic punished for lapses


    By Alan Hansen
    BBC Sport
    Celtic gave it their best shot - and a little bit more - and you have to say they were unlucky to lose.

    It's been a real adventure following them along the way in the Uefa Cup, and they've been magnificent all the way through. And they were magnificent again in the final.

    We had the lot - drama, excitement, red cards, goals.

    When you talk about the Celtic players and manager, you have to talk about grit, determination, resilience - but overall it's about their character.

    All through the tournament they've kept coming back from the dead, but this time it was just too much for them.

    It has to be said that the two goals they conceded in 90 minutes were both bad pieces of defending.

    Porto's first goal just before half time was a bad time to concede.

    There was a bad clearance, and then the defence seemed to switch off for a couple of seconds - that can be so costly at this level.

    And Celtic could have prevented Porto's second goal, but defenders dived in unnecessarily and the centre-backs got pulled all over the place.

    Martin O'Neill now needs to use all his man-management skills to get the players back up
    It was such a shame for Rab Douglas about Porto's winner. He had an excellent game, but he really should have done better with the original shot.

    Derlei did very well to keep his composure once he got the ball.

    But let's not forget the contribution that Celtic made to the game though.

    Once again, they reacted so bravely to going behind.

    Henrik Larsson's leap and the placement on his first header were brilliant and just what Celtic deserved.

    And as for the second, you won't see a better header than that all year.

    Larsson scored two superb goals and led the line magnificently. To play as well as he did and still finish up on the losing side is quite unbelievable.

    Unfortunately the game wasn't played in the best of spirits. The Porto players were rolling all over the pitch and there's no excuse for it.

    Martin O'Neill now needs to use all his man-management skills to get the players back up.

    They've got a massive game coming up at the weekend and it will be a big test to see if they can get re-motivated for Sunday and their last-day attempt to win the SPL.

    Story from BBC SPORT:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport1/hi/football/europe/3048691.stm

    Seville warms to Celtic fans

    Alasdair Lamont
    BBC Sport in Seville
    Imagine living in a city where the sun shone more often than it rained, where the architecture and culture dated back to the 7th century and beyond and life was lived at a serene pace where no-one was ever in too much of a hurry.

    Hold that thought and then imagine it suddenly being invaded by a foreign army. Not just any army, but an army of pasty-faced, beer-drinking, football-loving men and women who had come to take over the city, if only for a few days.

    That place is Seville and the conquering army is an ever-growing band of Celtic supporters.
    I have fond memories of this beautiful Andalucian city from a trip three years ago. It is a far more "Spanish" city than Barcelona or even Madrid, despite the obvious Moorish influence, in that it is relatively untarnished by the effects of tourism and a cosmopolitan population.

    So how, I wondered, would it look draped in green, white and gold?

    Well, not too bad as it turns out. The 15th century cathedral has become a focal point for the followers of Martin O'Neill's men- or, rather, the Irish pub Flaherty's across the road has become the focal point and the cathedral provides an interesting backdrop.

    On arriving on Monday night, more than 48 hours before kick-off, there were already a couple of thousand Celtic fans drinking and partying in this particular "zona" with many more ensconced in other Irish bars elsewhere in the city.

    By Tuesday morning, the same was still true. Many, it seemed, had not been to bed. But they had, only their bed was the concrete steps of the cathedral.

    For this Celtic band are a hardy bunch. Alright, so sleeping rough in Seville may not be the hardship that a similar experience in the pouring rain of Glasgow would provide, but it still gets cold at night and many of these guys had no more than their short-sleeved Celtic jerseys to keep them warm.

    One family I spoke to had spent the night sleeping outside the railway station. Not only that, but they have no tickets for the game, which surely makes that penance all the greater.

    The Murphys, from Fife, were still trying desperately to get a hold of tickets for Wednesday night's game.

    "I was offered a ticket for 700 Euros," said Brendan. "But you've got to be wary of forgeries."

    Nonetheless, they were not complaining and, like many others, they were here not only for the festivities but to sample the local culture as well.
    "We tried to get into the cathedral to say a prayer when we arrived, but it was closed, so we're going in when it opens this morning," said Thomas.

    "It's some place and the locals have been great."

    The Murphys' mother is joining her family in Seville on Wednesday. "She broke her hip a few weeks ago, so she's coming out with her stick. Nothing would keep her away," said daughter Agnes.

    But many are going to extraordinary lengths to be part of this wonderful occasion in the club's history.

    The Murphys told me of a young man they had encountered sleeping at the train station - an Israeli Celtic fan over for the game.

    Gerry O'Neill had just arrived from Sydney and told me of a number of others he knew were coming from Australia.

    He was one of the lucky ones who had managed to get a ticket, but it is estimated that around 20,000 will arrive here without one.

    The heady mixture of sun, beer and freedom can sometimes be a recipe for disaster, but Pili, the owner of a souvenir shop next to Flaherty's, is not concerned.

    "They are happy, they don't seem violent, they're just having a good time," she said.

    "Obviously it could change because they've started drinking very early (it was 11am), but I don't think there will be trouble."

    One local, Cristobal Sanchez, said he had only seen scenes like these once before in the city, when Barcelona played Steau Bucharest in a previous Uefa Cup final.

    But, with most Celtic fans yet to arrive, he admitted that even that occasion would be dwarved.

    So Celtic fans have embraced Seville and the city seems to quite like them too. Long may that continue.

    Story from BBC SPORT:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport1/hi/football/europe/3044227.stm

    Published: 2003/05/20 14:50:35 GMT

    No silver lining for Larsson

    By Alasdair Lamont in Seville
    Swedish striker Henrik Larsson insists his two-goal haul was no consolation for Celtic's Uefa Cup final defeat in Seville.

    Larsson scored both goals as the Bhoys twice battled back from behind and his performance was hailed as "world class" by Celtic boss Martin O'Neill.

    But the dejected Larsson insisted there was nothing to be pleased about following the extra-time defeat in the Estadio Olimpico.

    "It is no consolation whatsoever," he told the BBC Sport website.

    "I've said before, I'd much rather not score and be able to lift the Uefa Cup, than to score twice and finish up on the losing side.

    "There's nothing to be happy about, but now we have to find a way to lift ourselves for the league game on Sunday."

    The feeling among the Celtic players was that they could - and perhaps should - have won a game in which they never led.

    Stilian Petrov told this website of the disappointment felt by all of the players. "I thought we deserved to win," he said.

    "It was really hard to walk past the Uefa Cup without being able to pick it up.

    "But I think our performance will have made the supporters proud of us and we did Scotland proud as well."

    Didier Agathe was equally inconsolable, but admitted the players had to remain focused with Sunday's crucial league match against Kilmarnock still to come.

    "It's very hard to accept because we put so much effort into it, coming from behind twice, but that's football," said the Frenchman.
    "But it's good to know that Scottish football is good enough to compete at a high level in Europe.

    "Now we need to win the league and we'll do everything to make that happen."

    John Hartson missed the game through injury, but was as devastated as the rest of the squad at having missed out on the club's first European silverware in 36 years.

    "The boys did very well. Porto were the better team in the first half but we did brilliantly to get it back to 1-1 and then 2-2.

    "I thought we would go on and win it after that, but it wasn't to be."

    Martin O'Neill was scathing of the play-acting of the Portuguese players and Hartson admitted that he had been disappointed in their tactics.

    "The reaction of the Celtic fans at full time showed they're a very fair-minded crowd and they let Porto know what they thought of them.

    "But now that we've had a taste of these big European nights, we want more and hopefully we'll be back in the Champions League next season."

    Story from BBC SPORT:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport1/hi/football/europe/3049117.stm

    O'Neill unhappy at Porto antics

    "It is a steep learning curve, but this was a wonderful, wonderful experience
    Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
    Celtic boss Martin O'Neill has hit out at the poor sportsmanship of Uefa Cup final conquerors Porto.

    O'Neill accused the Portuguese champions of blatant play-acting on their way to a 3-2 victory at the Estadio Olimpico.

    However, he insisted Celtic would learn from the manner of their heart-breaking extra-time defeat and bounce back as a more potent European force.

    "I will probably get into trouble for this, but it was poor sportsmanship," O'Neill said. "The rolling over, the time wasting.

    "But they have beaten us, well done to them and it's up to us to learn from this.

    "It is a steep learning curve, but this was a wonderful, wonderful experience.

    Thompson could also have seen a second yellow card on two occasions
    Jose Mourinho
    "The players put everything into it and the fans have been fantastic."

    O'Neill's side twice came back from behind through goals from Henrik Larsson only for the sending off of Bobo Balde in extra time to turn the match once more in Porto's favour.

    "We came roaring back every time they scored a goal and, if when we had 11 against 11 in extra time, I think we were the more mentally strong," said the Celtic boss.

    "But it was not to be with Bobo getting sent off. It was a massive blow."

    Porto coach Jose Mourinho hit back at any suggestion of underhand tactics, however.

    "I'd prefer to ask whether the behaviour of the Celtic players was normal in your country," he said.

    "What Balde did to Deco in front of me could have ended his career.

    "The referee didn't affect the result, in that there were no doubtful decisions, but I think Balde could have had a direct red for his foul and Thompson could also have seen a second yellow card on two occasions.

    "The referee wanted to end the game with 11 against 11 and I think maybe he was a bit afraid to send anyone off.

    "There was a lot of commitment in Celtic's game, commitment, toughness and aggression. I'm tempted to use another word - but I won't."

    Porto could now go on and capture the domestic Double in Portugese football.

    Mourinho said: "We have given a great example to the world and those who love football and we have also made history by taking the Uefa Cup to Portugal for the first time ever.

    It was a bitter European experience for captain Paul Lambert, who failed to add the Uefa Cup to the Champions League winners' medal he won with Borussia Dortmund.

    "I thought we were absolutely fantastic right through the game, but it was just one of those nights," he said.

    Lambert was not prepared to echo the criticism of Porto, adding: "That is the way they play it. I thought they were great and deserved everything they got."

    Story from BBC SPORT:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport1/hi/football/europe/3048425.stm

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