Real Madrid 1 - FC Porto 0
Casillas; Michel Salgado, Hierro, Karanka, Roberto Carlos; Makelele,
Iván Helguera (Solari 76'); Figo (McManaman 15'), Guti (Munitis 40'),
Zidane; Morientes. 4-2-3-1.
A late goal from second half substitute Solari gave Real Madrid a belaboured victory against FC Porto. Del Bosque's men were missing their usual sparkle as tiredness and injury take their toll, and they were lucky in the end to come away with three points which virtually ensures their classification for the quarter finals. Guti came in to the side up front as Raúl was still sidelined with a muscle strain, and Roberto Carlos just passed a late fitness test on his bruised ribs to play. Guti was keen to impress, and he almost scored early on, hooking the ball just over the bar under pressure from Vitor Baia. However Porto should have taken the lead a couple of minutes later when Deco hit a post with Casillas beaten, and then Karanka blocked Capucho's shot from close range. The game was hard fought, and Figo limped off the field with a sprained ankle with only a quarter of an hour gone, McManaman coming on in his place. A few minutes later Guti got a fortuitous knock on the head, Andrades catching him with his knee as he was getting up, and after carrying on for a while, Del Bosque pulled him off as well.
Porto were looking the better side after the break, and German referee waved away the Portuguese side's claims for a penalty when Karanka pulled back on Postiga's shirt as he headed for goal. The striker went off soon afterwards after getting a bloody nose when the ball hit him on the face. Then Ricardo Silva hit the bar with a header, and Del Bosque decided to make his last change, Solari coming on for Helguera. It was a wise decision, and only seven minutes later the Argentine midfielder scored the winner, leaving Paredes for dead before beating Baia with a shot from the edge of the area. José Mourinho made a double change, but it was too late and Madrid go on to their third win in a row, taking them well clear of the rest of the group. With three games gone, they have nine points, with Panathinaikos on four, Sparta Prague three and Porto with only one. A point next week in Porto and they can concentrate on the Spanish league and cup, and give some of their key players a much needed rest.