| Celticís Henrik Larsson (left) celebrates with Jamie Smith after scoring against Boavista during the Uefa Cup semi-final second leg match in Porto Thursday. (Reuters)
London: Former European champions Celtic and Porto will meet in the Uefa Cup final in Seville on May 21 after contrasting semi-final wins on Thursday.
Celtic, the first Scottish side to win the European Cup in 1967, made it through to their first European final for 33 years when a late goal from Swedish striker Henrik Larsson gave them a 1-0 win over Portoís city rivals Boavista in Oporto for a 2-1 aggregate win. That made up for his penalty miss in the first-leg in Glasgow two weeks ago.
Porto, who won the European Cup in 1987, qualified for their first European final since then with a determined rearguard action in Rome where they held Lazio 0-0 to advance 4-1 on aggregate. They came through unscathed after Claudio Lopez missed a 57th-minute penalty for Lazio which Porto goalie Vitor Baia pushed away to safety.
But Porto will be without forward Helder Postiga in the final after he was sent off with Lazioís Cesar just before halftime for squaring up to each other after both had been booked earlier.
Thursdayís two matches could hardly have been a greater contrast to the two Champions League quarter finals played on Wednesday which produced 12 goals between them.
The four teams playing on Thursday barely mustered 12 goal attempts between them.
Still, the Celtic players and their fans did not care about that and celebrated wildly at the end of the game at the Do Bessa stadium which is being re-built in time for next yearís European Championship finals.
The half-built stadium lent an eerie atmosphere to the game which was awful to watch with poor passing from both teams and a minimum of goalmouth action.
Boavista, who held the away-goal advantage after their 1-1 draw in Glasgow, were content to play out time almost from the start ó but they failed, finally succumbing 11 minutes from time.
That was when the match produced its only moment of true quality leading to Larssonís 40th goal of the season.
A ball played up to John Hartson was intercepted by defender Filipe Anunciacao who inadvertently turned it straight into Larssonís path. The Swede controlled with his right foot and smashed it past diving goalkeeper Ricardo.
Porto became the first Portuguese club to reach a European final since Benfica made it in the European Cup 13 years ago and they deserved their place after keeping out Lazio in Rome.
Despite the lack of goals the Lazio-Porto match was a far better spectacle than the poor fare on offer in the other game, and Porto had to play well defensively to keep out a determined Lazio in the early stages.
They also held firm when Lazio were awarded a penalty after 57 minutes when Jorge Costa brought down Simone Inzaghi, but Lopezís weak shot failed to beat Baia, who pushed it around the post. (Reuters)