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Stories with happy ending in the Champions League

For eight times, the Dragons secured the qualification for the knockout stage among their fans

Make no mistake about the numbers: FC Porto has already reached 12 times the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League. But in this article, we focus on the eight times it happened at home, as it is expected to happen this Wednesday (19h45), against Monaco, for matchday six of group G.

Who doesn’t remember the 2004 turnaround against Chelsea (goals by Diego and Benni McCarthy), which allowed the Dragons, then European champions, to reach the Round of 16? Or the 5-0 (it will be a year on Thursday) to Leicester, with great goals from Corona and Brahimi, you can see above celebrating? These were two moments where FC Porto showed the best in European performances and secured the result they needed to be among the best in the competition.

There are six other episodes in this series, less memorable and more distant: the first qualification assured at home was in 1996/97, after a 3-0 win over Rosenborg for matchday four, with goals from Zahovic, Drulovic and Artur. In the glorious campaign of 2003/04, which ended in Gelsenkirchen, the qualification for the Round of 16 (the round with Costinha's magical goal in Manchester) was sealed with a 2-1 win over Partizan Belgrade (two for McCarthy), on matchday five, in the last European match at Estádio das Antas.

In fact, four of those home qualifiers were at the old Estádio das Antas and four at Estádio do Dragão, including a 0-0 tie (against Arsenal in 2006/07) which qualified both teams, and in the following season a 2-0 to Besiktas when a tie would have been enough - the victory meant the first place in Group A, of which Liverpool and Marseille were also part of.

Home qualifications to the knockout stage of the Champions League

1996/97, Matchday 4: FC Porto-Rosenborg, 3-0 (goals by Zahovic, Drulovic and Artur)
1999/00, Matchday 5: FC Porto-Molde, 3-1 (goals by Deco (2) and Jardel)
2001/02, Matchday 6: FC Porto-Rosenborg, 1-0 (Pena goal)
2003/04, Matchday 5: FC Porto-Partizan of Belgrade, 2-1 (goals by Benni McCarthy)
2004/05, Matchday 6: FC Porto-Chelsea, 2-1 (Diego and Benni McCarthy goals)
2006/07, Matchday 6: FC Porto-Arsenal, 0-0
2007/08, Matchday 6: FC Porto-Besiktas, 2-0 (goals by Lucho and Quaresma)
2016/17, Matchday 6: FC Porto-Leicester, 5-0 (goals by André Silva (2), Corona, Brahimi and Diogo Jota)

The match against Monaco will be previewed by Porto Canal starting at 17h30, and can be followed live on the official FC Porto app, and Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. After the final whistle, the will be analysed by Porto Canal and will have the report and statements of the coach and players.

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