FC Porto defender Pedro Emanuel believes the confidence gained from victory over FC Internazionale Milano on Wednesday evening will have a significant impact on his team's chances of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.
After 3-2 defeats by Rangers FC and then FC Artmedia at home, Porto had to win to maintain a realistic hope of making the last 16 from Group H. They did so thanks to a Marco Materazzi own goal and a deflected 35th-minute Benni McCarthy strike, but just as significant was Porto's first clean sheet of the competition.
"We talked a lot before this game and we believed once again in our potential," Pedro Emanuel said. "I think that was important. This win against Inter was important for us because it gives us back the confidence we lost. Now we can continue to dream about doing something special in the UEFA Champions League."
Ricardo Quaresma provided Porto's main attacking thrust on his return to the side, and says this improved showing could be a sign of things to come. "It was a crucial victory, not only because it gives us hope of progress in the UEFA Champions League, but also because we are now more confident," he said. "We needed a display like this against a great team like Inter. I'm also very happy to be back in the first XI. Now I must keep on working hard so the coach continues to trust in me."
The result was the perfect antidote to Saturday's Liga loss to rivals SL Benfica, and it was particularly special for Slovakian left-back Marek Čech who impressed on his debut. "I'm very happy because the team won and because I had the opportunity to play. It was important to forget the defeat against Benfica and collect a win. This victory will make us more confident for out next Portuguese Liga match at CD Nacional."
Porto remain bottom of Group H with three points from three matches, but in a tight section, a draw away to Inter on 1 November would put the 2004 European champions back in contention for the knockout rounds.
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