Artmedia rise from the ashes to topple Porto

Estádio do Dragão, Porto – 28/09/2005 – Group stage
Porto
Porto
Lucho González 32 Diego 39
2 - 3
Petržalka
  • P. Petráš 45+1
  • Kozák 54
  • Borbély 74
Petržalka
Back from the brink

"At the break I told the players it's better to lose 5-2 than not try to change something. It worked." Vladimír Weiss

2005/06

• Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko – who ended the tournament with nine goals – became the fifth player to score four times in one match as AC Milan won 4-0 at Fenerbahçe SK on Matchday 5.

• RSC Anderlecht lost 2-0 to Chelsea FC the same night – the last of a record sequence of 12 successive UEFA Champions League defeats which ended with a 1-0 win at Real Betis Balompié a fortnight later.

• Arsenal FC – Jens Lehmann (648), Manuel Almunia (347) – went a record 995 minutes without conceding a UEFA Champions League goal before FC Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o breached the latter in the final.

MFK Petržalka's UEFA Champions League experience was brief but memorable. After coming through qualifying despite a 4-0 defeat by Celtic FC (they won the first leg 5-0), the Slovakian side then known as FC Artmedia Bratislava accomplished their first group win at the second attempt with an extraordinary comeback against FC Porto.

José Mourinho had gone but, 16 months on, Porto still carried the swagger of UEFA Champions League winners. Inspired by the playmaking skills of Diego, they quickly set about the visitors. The Brazilian came close with an early volley, while Artmedia goalkeeper Juraj Čobej only just repelled a long-range try from Lucho: before long both would be on the scoresheet.

The opener came on 32 minutes when Jorginho tricked his marker with a clever flick and forced Čobej into a near-post save. Ricardo Quaresma picked up the loose ball and with his trademark 'travela' (a cross with the outside of his right foot), picked out Lucho for a headed goal. Within seven minutes Co Adriaanse's side were 2-0 up, a quick throw-in releasing Diego who sped off on a 30-metre run before beating Čobej from the edge of the area.

Porto were looking comfortable but a chink in their armour was exposed on the stroke of half-time when Peter Petráš cut inside Ricardo Costa and fired low through Bruno Alves's legs and past Vítor Baía. Artmedia coach Vladimír Weiss seized the moment, introducing striker Juraj Halenár for Peter Burák.

The gamble paid off within nine minutes of the restart in the shape of an extraordinary equaliser. Cramped by markers out on the right, Halenár somehow threaded a 30-metre crossfield pass around a host of backtracking defenders and into the path of Ján Kozák, who finished coolly. The bit between the teeth, the Slovakian champions now came forward in search of an unlikely winner.

It arrived with 16 minutes left when Kozák's free-kick form the left was met by Balázs Borbély, edging in front of Ricardo Costa to side-foot into the net. "We played with our hearts," said Weiss. "After Petráš scored I sent Halenár on and told the players during the break that it's better to lose 5-2 than not try to change something. It worked." It certainly did.

Star players

  • Diego

    A gifted playmaker, Diego won the Liga with FC Porto after leaving Santos FC in 2004, but it was a three-year spell at SV Werder Bremen that launched his career. He scored 38 goals in 84 Bundesliga matches, and after a less productive campaign at Juventus the Brazilian international returned to Germany in 2010 with a €15m switch to VfL Wolfsburg.

  • Kozák

    A Slovakian title winner with MFK Košice, FC Artmedia Bratislava (now FC Petržalka 1898) and ŠK Slovan Bratislava, success has followed towering forward Kozák. He gained international recognition in Artmedia's 2005/06 foray in the UEFA Champions League, equalising and then creating the winner in a famous 3-2 comeback win against FC Porto. Capped 25 times, Kozák has since had spells in England, Romania and Greece.

  • Halenár

    Halenár made an immediate impression after joining FC Artmedia Bratislava (now FC Petržalka 1898) in 2005, scoring a hat-trick in his second match − a 5-0 victory over Celtic FC in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. He gave another star turn against FC Porto in the group stage, coming off the bench to inspire a comeback win. The Slovakia striker has won two titles since joining ŠK Slovan Bratislava in 2008.

What happened next?

• After back-to-back draws against Rangers FC and a 4-0 defeat by FC Internazionale Milano, FC Artmedia Bratislava fell a point short of qualification after a stalemate with FC Porto in their final outing.

• Vladimír Weiss's side finished above Porto in third to earn a spot in the UEFA Cup round of 32 but were eliminated straight away, going down 3-0 on aggregate to Bulgarian side PFC Levski Sofia.

• Porto gained some consolation by completing the Portuguese double, finishing seven points clear of second placed Sporting Clube de Portugal in what would be the first of four successive Liga titles.

• In December 2005 keeper Juraj Čobej underwent brain surgery after being diagnosed with a malign tumour. He was back the following season, but lost his place in Artmedia's 2007/08 double-winning side.

• That signalled the end of Artmedia's golden age. That summer owner and sponsors had both moved on and after losing their bigger names FC Petržalka 1898 (as they were renamed) were relegated in 2010.

 

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