Soccer-Porto favourites to win all-Portuguese Europa final
LISBON May 18 (Reuters) - Porto will aim to cap a superb season by lifting the Europa League trophy when they meet stubborn compatriots Braga in the first ever all-Portuguese final of a UEFA competition on Wednesday in Dublin.
In coach Andre Villas Boas' first season at the club, Porto cruised to the Portuguese title undefeated and reached the Europa League final in style, overwhelming opponents such as Spain's Sevilla and Villarreal with their attacking strength.
"Given what they've done this year, it's natural to say Porto are very much the favourites," said Braga coach Domingos.
His team have, however, become adept at beating the odds this season to reach their first European final by combining gritty performances and clinical finishing.
They beat Celtic and Sevilla to reach their first Champions League group stage, where they recovered from a thrashing by Arsenal to post three respectable wins, and knocked out former European champions Liverpool and Benfica after dropping into the Europa League.
"With the right inspiration and motivation, we can take one of our chances, and that leads us to believe we can win," Domingos added.
Their campaign has been largely built on strong defending but in Porto's prolific Colombian striker Radamel Falcao they will face a threat that may be too much too handle.
Falcao scored five goals in the semi-final against Villarreal, taking his tally to 16 and beating a record of goals in European competition previously held by Juergen Klinnsman.
For Braga to spring another surprise they will also have to control Porto's powerful Brazilian forward Hulk, cope with the thunderous long-distance menace of Colombian Fredy Guarin and outsmart a midfield that runs like clockwork.
(Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; Editing by Ken Ferris
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