14th of March 2013 Author: Johnny Karp
Substitute Roque Santa Cruz scored with his first touch of the ball to send Malaga into the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The Spaniards were trailing 1-0 from the first leg and they moved level on aggregate when Isco curled home the opener from the edge of the box two minutes before half-time. Things got tougher for Porto in the 50th minute when midfielder Steven Defour picked up a second yellow card for a rough foul on Joaquin. Then substitute Santa Cruz, on loan from Manchester City, headed home in the 78th minute from Isco's corner.
The first half was a tense affair, lots of fouls and quite a few yellow cards, more than shots on goal. The first and best moment of football in the first half was in the 43rd minute when talented playmaker Isco fired home for Malaga from the edge of the box, a superb shot past goalkeeper Helton. Porto had found the back of the net five minutes before that through Javier Saviola but it was ruled out in what was a controversial call from the referee.
Porto's hopes of qualifying received a big blow at half time when midfielder Joao Moutinho had to be taken off due to a thigh injury. Things got even worse for the Portuguese side five minutes after the restart when Defour was shown a second yellow card for tripping Joaquin. Malaga started pushing forward but Porto held firm for a while and the home side was unable to create any clear chances. The goal came on a corner kick in the 78th minute, perfectly taken by Isco and headed home by Roque Santa Cruz. Porto came close to scoring the winning goal two minutes later, the ball did go into the net on Maicon's header but the defender was ruled offside.
Malaga reach the quarter finals but they are considered outsiders in the race for the ultimate European trophy, they are priced at 50/1 for an outright win at Bet365 while top favourites Barcelona are priced at 7/4.
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