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APOEL not quaking as Porto come calling

Published: Monday 31 October 2011, 18.53CET
"We do not feel any pressure, we feel motivation," said APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanovič as his side welcome FC Porto to Nicosia holding a surprise Group G lead at the halfway stage.
by John Leonidou
from Nicosia
APOEL not quaking as Porto come calling
APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovič ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 31 October 2011, 18.53CET

APOEL not quaking as Porto come calling

"We do not feel any pressure, we feel motivation," said APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanovič as his side welcome FC Porto to Nicosia holding a surprise Group G lead at the halfway stage.

APOEL FC maintained their surprise position at the top of UEFA Champions League Group G with a 1-1 draw at FC Porto a fortnight ago, and home coach Ivan Jovanovič knows every point is priceless in a tight section as the sides reconvene in Nicosia. A point adrift of APOEL in third, Vítor Pereira's Porto know they have a tough game in store.

The more games we play in this competition, the more motivated we feel, but there certainly isn't an issue of pressure
Ivan Jovanovič
Four teams are in contention in this group and APOEL have shown that they deserve to be in the mix to qualify
Vítor Pereira

APOEL
Coach Ivan Jovanovič
Tomorrow's game will be crucial for us, like all the other games in this competition. I believe that this group will go down to the wire and that we will only know who will go through after the final matchday. We do not feel any pressure going into this game; we feel motivation. The more games we play in this competition, the more motivated we feel, but there certainly isn't an issue of pressure – for us at least; I cannot speak for Porto.

Both teams will play to win. Porto are traditionally an attacking side and I am certain that they will not alter their strategy at the GSP Stadium. We know that we will need to play even better than we did at the Dragão if we want to get a positive result.

Weekend result: APOEL 0-0 Anorthosis Famagusta FC
Pardo; Poursaitides, Alexandrou, Paulo Jorge, Oliveira; Morais, Pinto, Adorno (Jahić 46), Manduca (Charalambides 68); Tričkovski, Aílton (Solari 61)

• Aílton and Anorthosis's Ricardo Laborde hit the woodwork as a full-strength APOEL side were held by the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage participants. Urko Pardo, who made his APOEL debut on matchday three, is yet to concede in three appearances for the club.

Team news
William Boaventura has been ruled out with a sprained ankle. First-choice goalkeeper Dionisios Chiotis has not featured since being taken off with bruised ribs at Porto and will also miss the match, as does Marcinho due to a thigh injury.

Porto
Coach Vítor Pereira

Every game in this group is important. Every point is important for our future in the competition. We have been working hard; we are ready now. We have had some good wins in our domestic league which have helped us psychologically, and that can only be positive going into the game against APOEL.

We are up against a competitive team. We are used to the pressure which comes with these kinds of games so it is nothing new for us. APOEL are a good side, a very efficient side, and they will do their best against us. Four teams are in contention in this group and APOEL have shown that they deserve to be in the mix to qualify.

Weekend result: Porto 3-0 FC Paços de Ferreira (Melgarejo og 45+1, Kléber 64, Moutinho 84)
Helton; Pereira, Rolando, Mangala, Săpunaru; Fernando, Belluschi, Defour (Moutinho 46); Hulk (James Rodríguez 59), Varela, Walter (Kléber 56)

• Unchanged from the 5-0 defeat of CD Nacional on 23 October, Porto secured a fourth successive domestic win. They have scored 19 without reply in that run. The Dragons are 48 games unbeaten in the Liga (42 wins, six draws) since 28 February 2010 and a 3-0 loss at Sporting Clube de Portugal.

Team news
Jorge Fucile returns from his matchday three suspension.

Match fact
No Cypriot senior side has defeated Portuguese opposition at either club or international level but APOEL ran Porto close again in Nicosia on 3 November 2009 before succumbing to Falcao's goal six minutes from time. With that victory, Jesualdo Ferreira's team secured qualification for the UEFA Champions League knockout phase with two games to spare while APOEL finished bottom of the group.

Last updated: 02/12/11 12.52CET

Related information

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007622/prematch/preview/index.html#apoel+quaking+porto+come+calling

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