Costa salvages Porto's hopes

Porto 1 Internazionale 1
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The Independent Football

The home fans unfurled a flag before kick-off last night that depicted a fight between a Jedi knight and Darth Vader. No prizes for guessing which team was the good guy, but Porto will have to show a great deal more of the force if they are to continue their defence of the Champions' League.

The home fans unfurled a flag before kick-off last night that depicted a fight between a Jedi knight and Darth Vader. No prizes for guessing which team was the good guy, but Porto will have to show a great deal more of the force if they are to continue their defence of the Champions' League.

However the Portuguese can at least go to Milan in 12 days' time with some hope in their hearts as they recovered from conceding a first-half goal to finish this match on level terms.

The Italians will be favourites in front of their own fans, thanks to the away goal scored by Obafemi Martins. That they did not snatch a late winner was all down to Vitor Baia in Porto's goal, who pulled off two fine saves.

Martins is a name known all too well to Arsenal fans who saw the striker destroy the Gunners at the start of last seasons Champions' League and his first-half goal may have been the first nail in the holders' coffin in this campaign.

This is the first time these two clubs, winners of this competition twice each, have ever met and the way they approached the first leg of this last-16 tie was caginess itself.

While Internazionale's tactics were justified and feared by their hosts, Porto's lack of daring was inexcusable and they paid the price after just 23 minutes. The move was started by Juan Sebastian Veron. Giuseppe Favalli threaded an inch-perfect pass inside Giourkas Seitaridis to Dejan Stankovic and the Serbian midfielder crossed to Martins, the Nigerian tapping into an empty net.

The home side raised the tempo after the break, as they had to, although they were not helped by a smaller crowd than expected, 14,000 below capacity at the usually intimidating Dragao Stadium.

But they roused their fans 16 minutes after the interval when they equalised. Nuno Valente swung in a hopeful ball from the left that Francesco Toldo failed to gather and the central defender Ricardo Costa pounced from close range.

Porto (4-2-3-1) : Baia; Seitaridis, Emanuel, R Costa, Valente; Costinha, Meireles; Bosingwa (Fabiano, 28), Maniche, Quaresma (Postiga, 83); McCarthy. Substitutes not used: Santo (gk), Pepe, Leandro, Mejolaro, Machado.

Internazionale (4-4-2) : Toldo; J Zanetti, Cordoba, Materazzi, Favalli; Veron (Emre, 71), C Zanetti, Cambiasso, Stankovic; Adriano (Vieri, 81), Martins. Substitutes not used: Carini (gk), Burdisso, Van der Meyde, Mihajlovic, Gonzalez.

Referee: G Poll (England).

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