FC Porto 2-1 Panathinaikos FC
FC Porto weathered a late storm - in both senses of the word - to gain a home win over Panathinaikos FC and keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Having dominated the first hour to take a 2-0 lead through Deco and Pena, Porto were then pegged back by Panathinaikos, who pulled one back thanks to substitute Joonas Kolkka and gained a man advantage when Carlos Secretário was sent off - all after losing two key players in a bizarre first-half incident.
Porto's team was radically altered by coach José Mourinho after recent poor domestic form, and with just one point from their first four games in the group, victory was imperative for the home side - whose opponents went into the match knowing a draw would almost certainly put them in the last eight.
Out of the blue
The early exchanges were pretty even, and the opener, when it came, was out of the blue. On 12 minutes Clayton hit a fine cross behind the away defence, the ball was cut back by Capucho, and lashed home by Deco to the delight of the home fans that had braved the heavy rain.
The goal rocked Panathinaikos back on their heels, and Pena nearly made it two on 21 minutes, but his header from a corner was saved at point-blank range by Antonios Nikopolidis.
Then came a serious blow for the visitors just before the half-hour. Robert Jarni was put clear, but as he prepared to shoot, he clashed heads with team-mate Giorgios Karagounis, leaving both players' heads bleeding - forcing their replacement. Angelis Basinas was booked soon afterwards, meaning he is suspended next week against Real Madrid CF.
Pena on target
Panathinaikos held on grimly for the rest of the half, and things were no different after the break as Porto chased a second - which they gained on 54 minutes. Capucho was again the provider, receiving the ball just inside the visitors' half, and running into the box, squaring Pena to tap home.
But Panathinaikos refused to give in and began to surge forward. They had Sotirios Kyrgiakos booked, also leaving him suspended, on the hour, but their pressure told five minutes later when substitute Kolkka shot home from outside the area.
Porto had to defend in numbers after Secretário received his marching orders for a professional foul on Polish striker
Emmanuel Olisadabe, like Kolkka on as a first-half substitute.
The dying moments saw chance after chance come and go, but Porto clung to their lead as the rain continued to lash down, and to their relief the final whistle confirmed a win that they deserved on their performances throughout this second group stage.
Must win away
Porto now must win away to AC Sparta Praha to go through - but will be denied if Panathinaikos draw with Madrid.