Is this the spirit of 2004? Mariano’s 89th minute equalizer gave the Portuguese side a 2-2 draw at previously impenetrable Old Trafford against Manchester United. Cristian Rodríguez and Wayne Rooney traded goals in the first fifteen minutes, setting up a long spell of 1-1 football. Late substitute Carlos Tevez scored what appeared to be the match-winner in the 85th minute. But somehow Mariano appeared unmarked in the waning moments, knocking in the tying goal.
While Porto could easily lose at the Estadio do Dragão in the return leg, this draw does set them up very nicely. The two away goals especially will give them a lot of ground to work with in the return. But for United, what happened. Did they just expect a victory at their hallowed ground? Did they fall asleep after the Tevez affair appeared to send them to glory?
Meanwhile, in a simultaneous match at El Madrigal, Arsenal used Emmanuel Adebayor’s incredible volley to draw 1-1 with Villarreal in Spain. Though star Marcos Senna had given the Yellow Submarine an early lead on ten minutes, the Gunners’ response via Adebayor gives the English side great hope in the return leg. Not only did they acquire the much-needed away goal but the quality of the strike that did it should be inspiring going forward.
Tomrrow’s matches feature Barcelona at the Camp Nou against a very much out of form Bayern Munich as well as the vastly intriguing Chelsea-Liverpool front leg from Anfield Road. So far no side has emerged as favorite so we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow.