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Porto coach defends decision to drop Iker Casillas for Jose Sa

Porto coach Sergio Conceicao has defended his decision to drop Iker Casillas and instead play Jose Sa in goal in Tuesday's 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

Sa, a former Portugal youth international, was adjudged to have been at fault for Leipzig's first goal when he failed to hold Bruma's shot, leaving Leipzig captain Willi Orban with a tap-in.

Former Real Madrid captain Casillas, who won the Champions League three times with Los Blancos, has started Porto's previous two group matches but was among the substitutes at the Red Bull Arena.

"I put out the 11 players I thought were best suited for tonight's game," Conceicao told reporters following the match. "I wouldn't change the decision if I had a chance to make it again. I'm paid to make decisions and tonight I put out, what I felt, was my strongest side.

"We lost against a very strong team and the home game against them is going to be vital in terms of our hopes of advancing in the competition. [Leipzig] are a very powerful team, they play with a lot of intensity and are aggressive in terms of looking to win back possession."

Jose Sa during a training session for Porto.
Jose Sa was picked ahead of Iker Casillas for Porto's Champions League game against RB Leipzig.

Leipzig head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl hailed the result by saying his club have finally "arrived" in the Champions League.

The Bundesliga club, recording their first ever win in the competition, are now second in Group G with four points.

Hasenhuttl told Sky after the match: "We had a lot of pace going forward, were versatile. We should have won by a two-goal, maybe a three-goal margin. We were clearly the better team. We've finally shown a bit more of what we can really do.

"We have now arrived in the Champions League."

Leipzig now face trips to Porto and Monaco in their next Champions League matches and on the final day host Besiktas, who lead the group on nine points.

"We play Besiktas in our last home game. They might be through by then," Hasenhuttl said, adding that this would "definitely not be a disadvantage" for Leipzig. "We want to try and take the most of our next two games, and we are not without a chance in Porto."

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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