PSG draw with Porto to stay in the game

3rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

OPORTO, Portugal, Nov 2 (AFP) - Titleholders FC Porto's hopes of making the last 16 of the Champions League remained just about alive here on Tuesday after they drew 0-0 with French outfit Paris Saint Germain in their Group H clash.

OPORTO, Portugal, Nov 2 (AFP) - Titleholders FC Porto's hopes of making the last 16 of the Champions League remained just about alive here on Tuesday after they drew 0-0 with French outfit Paris Saint Germain in their Group H clash.

The hosts almost grabbed the three points in injury-time but a magnificent save by PSG 'keeper Lionel Letizi from Ricardo Costa's header denied them.

The draw means Porto have two points and with two matches remaining trail CSKA Moscow and PSG by two points while Chelsea wrapped up their place in the last 16 by beating the Russians 1-0 earlier in the evening.

However while PSG manager Vahid Halilhodzic praised his side for what he termed a stunning performance he had nothing but barely disguised contempt for the Portuguese side.

"I am disappointed with the behaviour of the European champions," moaned the volatile Bosnian about an incident in the 85th minute when with PSG's Edouard Cisse lying injured on the ground the French side kicked the ball out but from the ensuing throw in the hosts threw the ball not back to them as is the custom but to Helder Postiga who nearly scored.

"I do not understand this at all. In the Champions League it should be about fair play. That was cheating on their part and that irritated the players."

His Porto counterpart Victor Fernandez denied any such thing and had his own bitter words for the French.

"They were wasting time from the start of the match and that in my mind is not very sporting," he said.

PSG couldn't get a hold on the match played in pouring rain and it was the hosts who nearly opened the scoring in the 20th minute when one of their few remaining survivors from last season's glorious campaign Maniche's fierce volley from outside the area went just wide of Letizi's right hand post.

The lively Ricardo Quaresma showed his class in the 40th minute in a largely turgid first-half as he burst through the PSG midfield but again chose to shoot from outside the area with the outside of his foot which was safely gathered by Letizi.

Porto had another chance in first-half injury-time but Derlei having managed to escape his marker could only direct his header from five metres out wide of the post.

The visitors opened the second-half in brighter mode and forced their first corner of the match in the 49th minute but it came to nothing as Porto cleared their lines.

However the dangerous Quaresma gave PSG a wake up call as his brilliantly whipped in cross from the right two minutes later was met by South African striker Benni McCarthy's head but was tipped away for a corner.

Fernandez was to attract the ire of the home fans and McCarthy himself when he replaced the South African star with Hugo Almeida in the 65th minute as the supporters booed and whistled and the striker - their leading scorer this term with six goals in six league appearances - himself sat shaking his head in disgust on the bench.

However it was not Almeida but the unlikely figure of PSG's former Bolton Wanderers defender Bernard Mendy who went desperately close twice in as many minutes to scoring against the run of play.

He ran onto a splendid through-ball in the 79th minute but one on one with Porto keeper Vitor Baia somehow the Portugueses guardian managed to deflect the shot with his armpit wide of the post.

Baia had to be alert from the resulting corner taken by Mendy as it curled as if going into the goal and the veteran keeper just managed to tip it over the bar.

Porto came storming back as Helder Postiga slipped free into the right side of the box and his cross shot was brilliantly palmed away to safety by Letizi.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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