Porto goalscorer Silvestre Varela believes the Dragons deserved their victory against Arsenal and that the Portuguese champions are now in a promising position ahead of the second-leg test at Emirates Stadium.
It was Varelat’s teasing 11th-minute cross which led to Porto’s opener as Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski could only fumble the ball into his own net.
The Gunners drew level shortly afterwards through Sol Campbell's header, but Jesualdo Ferreira’s side edged themselves back in front after half-time thanks to a controversial Falcao strike.
The front-man capitalised on some sloppy Arsenal defending after referee Martin Hansson awarded Porto an indirect free-kick for a back-pass just inside the penalty area.
The goal, which turned out to be the winner, may have incensed the Arsenal players and manager alike, but Varela insisted that Porto’s victory was much-deserved.
"It was a difficult game but I think we performed well, and we deserved to win,” he told uefa.com.
“Of course, I enjoyed scoring the goal and it doesn't really matter how I did it. That's the way things go in football sometimes.”
The Portuguese champions take their slender 2-1 advantage to north London on March 9 with a place in the Champions League quarter-finals at stake.
Having thrashed Porto 4-0 at Emirates Stadium in last season's group phase, Arsenal might still be considered favourites to progress despite trailing by a single goal.
Not according to Varela.
"We faced very strong opponents and I don't see this as a bad result for us at all,” said the 25-year-old winger.
“I think Arsenal played quite well but we managed to deny them the chance to play their game.
"Our main concern now is our next league game and only after that will we think about the Arsenal match, but we will be prepared for it.”comments