By Matthew Spiro at the Stade Vélodrome
FC Porto recorded their first win in this season's UEFA Champions League by defeating Olympique de Marseille 3-2 to move into a strong position in Group F.
The Portuguese champions recovered from a goal down to take all three points and are now a point above their opponents and in second place in the section behind Real Madrid CF. Porto now have four points from three matches ahead of the return meeting with Marseille in two weeks' time.
Porto coach José Mourinho signalled his intentions by picking an attacking lineup, with forwards César Peixoto and Marco Ferreira coming into the side having missed the home defeat by Madrid. But it was Marseille, with Brahim Hemdani restored to the side to bolster the midfield, who started on the front foot.
Drogba too high
Didier Drogba, fresh from his hat-trick against FK Partizan on Matchday 2, had the game's first shot after four minutes, latching on to a flick from Ahmed Hossam 'Mido' only to shoot over the top with his left foot from 20 metres. Porto goalkeeper Vítor Baía was called into action nine minutes later, plucking Steve Marlet's header out of the air after good work on the left wing by Mido.
Home side inspired
An electric atmosphere at the Stade Vélodrome seemed to inspire the home side, and Baía was forced to produce another save from Mido's close-range effort before Marseille broke the deadlock in the 24th minute. Marlet drifted in from the left wing and when his delicate through-ball picked out Drogba, the Ivory Coast international made no mistake, slipping a low shot past the on-rushing Baía into the corner.
First Porto chance
The goal brought the visitors out of their slumber, however, and they drew level with their first clear chance of the game in the 31st minute. Maniche exchanged passes with Derlei on the right side of the penalty area before firing an unstoppable low shot across Vedran Runje and inside the far post.
It got worse for Marseille four minutes later, as Porto took the lead. Marco Ferreira's pass found the lively Derlei in space outside the penalty area, and the Porto striker jinked inside his marker before striking a clinical left-footed shot into the bottom right corner from 20 metres.
Marseille push forward
The game became more stretched after the break as Marseille committed numbers forward in search of an equaliser. Five minutes in, Sébastien Pérez's deep right-wing cross was headed back across goal by Marlet but Drogba missed his attempted flick and Baía was able to make a simple claim.
The more Marseille pressed forward the more space they left for Porto to exploit on the counterattack and Daniel Van Buyten had to make a timely intervention to prevent Peixoto from going clean through in the 58th minute.
With Porto full-backs Nuno Valente and Paulo Ferreira denying wingers Marlet and Camel Meriem any space, the supply line to the Marseille strikers was largely cut off. The home side's coach, Alain Perrin, therefore attempted to change the pattern of the game midway through the second half, introducing Czech midfield player Stepan Vachousek and Russian striker Dmitri Sytchev.
Sytchev's direct running gave Marseille more purpose but it was a Porto substitute who decided the game, Dmitri Alenichev turning in Deco's cross nine minutes from time.
The goal seemed to have ended Marseille's challenge, although Perrin's side reduced the deficit almost immediately as Marlet headed in Meriem's free-kick.