UEFA Champions League: Malaga 2 Porto 0 (agg. 2-1)
By Football News
Malaga reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a 2-0 home triumph over Porto at La Rosaleda on Wednesday.
Heading into the second leg trailing 1-0 on aggregate, Malaga levelled the last-16 tie through a sublime goal from Isco just before half-time.
The hosts dominated the second half after Porto midfielder Steven Defour was shown a red card in the 49th minute before Roque Santa Cruz secured the win with a header 13 minutes from time.
There was very little to separate the two teams at the Dragao three weeks ago and it was clear the return leg would follow suit within 10 minutes of kick off, but neither Joaquin nor Danilo managed to test the opposing goalkeeper from decent positions.
The tackles were heated and quality was in short supply but in the 36th minute Porto goalkeeper Helton, who had largely remained untested until this point, produced a great save to keep Vitorino Antunes' arrowed shot out of the top corner.
It was the start of a good spell for Malaga, and they thought they had taken the lead through Javier Saviola in the 39th minute. However, the goal was ruled out due to a collision between Julio Baptista and Helton.
But the hosts did not have to wait long for the breakthrough as Isco scored a sensational goal. The Spaniard was afforded too much space 20 yards from goal and he used it to devastating effect, curling a brilliant shot into the far corner of the goal.
Porto's hopes of progression took a severe blow early in the second half as Defour picked up his second yellow card for an ill-disciplined challenge on Joaquin.
Malaga were patient in pursuit of a second goal, and it was not until the 57th minute that they came close again. Isco's cross was sent straight to Argentine forward Saviola following a poor clearance from Nicolas Otamendi, but the defender got across to block his compatriot's effort on goal.
Four minutes later Isco came close to grabbing his second as he connected with a smart pass from Saviola, but he could not roll the ball into the net from an acute angle.
Malaga allowed the game to go stale and were almost punished as a result, Jackson Martinez coming agonisingly close to converting James Rodriguez's free kick 15 minutes from time.
The Andalusians heeded their warning and found the decisive second goal three minutes later as Santa Cruz rose highest to head in from Isco's corner.
Porto got the ball into the back of the net moments later through Maicon, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.
It proved to be their final chance to remain in the competition and Malaga ended a run of four games without a win to reach the quarter-finals in their maiden Champions League campaign.