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Pereira looks to Porto's 12th man against Zenit

Published: Monday 5 December 2011, 21.45CET
Vítor Pereira called on FC Porto fans to create a "red-hot atmosphere" as they seek a win to pip FC Zenit St Petersburg to second place in Group G and earn a place in the round of 16.
by Carlos Santos
from Porto
Pereira looks to Porto's 12th man against Zenit
Vitor Pereira takes training on Monday ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 5 December 2011, 21.45CET

Pereira looks to Porto's 12th man against Zenit

Vítor Pereira called on FC Porto fans to create a "red-hot atmosphere" as they seek a win to pip FC Zenit St Petersburg to second place in Group G and earn a place in the round of 16.

FC Porto coach Vítor Pereira is urging the fans at the Estádio do Dragão to roar the home side on to the victory they need to leapfrog FC Zenit St Petersburg and claim a last-16 berth. Zenit hold a one-point lead over Porto but visiting coach Luciano Spalletti is taking nothing for granted: "There is no favourite."

FC Porto
Coach Vítor Pereira
Whoever plays for this club knows their responsibility, and is used to the pressure and knows the values of the club as well. These are the values we'll rely on tomorrow to beat Zenit. This is a very important match, because it will meet a goal that we set at the beginning of the season, which is to go as far as we can in the Champions League and that's what we'll go for tomorrow.

At the time of the draw, I said this group would be very competitive. APOEL are having a great campaign in this group and having three teams competing for a place in the next phase is something I'd predicted.

The fans are crucial for us tomorrow. I hope that they create as hot an atmosphere tomorrow as we experienced in Russia. Zenit are a difficult team. They have a slightly Italian flavour, they defend well, but they like to get as many attackers as possible into the box. They use the entire pitch and have great quality. In spite of that, this Porto are a team that know their responsibility and know they have to go through tomorrow.

Weekend result
• Porto were not in action at the weekend having already been knocked out of the Portuguese Cup. Their most recent result was a 3-2 win over SC Braga on 27 November, their 50th Liga game without defeat.

Team news
Fredy Guarín has been out with a calf problem. Nicolás Otamendi, Álvaro Pereira and James Rodríguez are one booking from a suspension.

FC Zenit St Petersburg
Coach Luciano Spalletti
Bruno Alves has told us about the Porto team and their players, but our team have an identity and we won't go far from that. I knew when I saw the draw that this group would be very competitive and I thought that it would be Zenit and Porto going through, but APOEL have had a great campaign so far.

This game is worth a lot to us – we know how big Champions League football is and we all want to go through. I don't think there's a favourite tomorrow. Playing here at the Dragão is never easy, and although a draw is enough for us, we will try to get the win.

Weekend result
• Not in action at the weekend after the Russian winter break started at the end of November, Zenit are unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions, winning eight of them, since the matchday one defeat by APOEL FC.

• They have been preparing in the Algarve since Wednesday.

Team news
Aleksandr Kerzhakov has been out for two months with an ankle injury. Domenico Criscito and Tomáš Hubočan will incur a suspension with their next bookings.

Match fact
This is Zenit's first trip to Porto but their Bruno Alves will need no introduction to the home supporters. The defender spent ten years as a Porto player before moving to Russia in August 2010.

Last updated: 06/12/11 18.06CET

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