By David Minton at Parc des Princes
Paris Saint-Germain FC relaunched their UEFA Champions League campaign in style with an impressive 2-0 win against defending champions FC Porto in the French capital.
A wonder strike from Charles-Edouard Coridon after 30 minutes, followed a minute later by a Pauleta goal, gave PSG their first points and first goals of the competition against Group H's other winless club. Porto's hopes of a third successive European trophy now hang by a thread, with Víctor Fernández's side bottom of the section with a single point after three matches.
PSG coach Vahid Halihodzic recalled Portugal striker Pauleta to the starting lineup after resting him for two Ligue 1 games to face a Porto team that included two of the forward's current international colleagues, Maniche and Costinha.
As expected Fernández stuck with the Porto side that defeated Portuguese league leaders SL Benfica on Sunday, meaning Benni McCarthy was joined in a three-man strikeforce by Carlos Alberto and Derlei. The trio's pace and rapid interchange of positions meant the PSG defence, in which centre-back Mario Yepes returned following a two-match European suspension, had to be constantly vigilant.
Fresh from scoring international goals against Liechtenstein and Russia in FIFA World Cup qualifying, Pauleta was PSG's most threatening player in the early exchanges, going close with a header after Jorge Costa misjudged Coridon's cross.
Porto goalkeeper Vítor Baía had still to make a save when the home side took the lead in spectacular fashion on 29 minutes through Coridon. Stéphane Pichot's cross from the right fell slightly behind the midfield player but Coridon improvised to acrobatic effect, finding the net with an overhead back-heel from just inside the penalty area. The sublime finish was some way for the French club to register their first Champions League strike of the season.
The home fans were still celebrating when Pauleta doubled the lead a minute later. The forward scored only his second goal from open play in club football this season as he showed his predatory instincts to finish off a low cross from strike partner Reinaldo after the two had exchanged passes.
McCarthy was centimetres wide with a header moments later as Porto attempted to claw their way back into the game. The South African international forward then forced the best save of the half as Lionel Letizi showed bravery to save at his feet.
Halihodzic was forced to make a change three minutes into the second period as Jérôme Rothen hobbled off to be replaced by Branko Boskovic. With Porto having to chase the game, Fernández brought on Ricardo Quaresma, a winger, for defensive midfield player Costinha.
With the visitors committing men forward in numbers, Pauleta and Reinaldo looked to exploit being left alone with their respective markers. The game became increasingly open and had Reinaldo's 60th-minute cross carried a little less weight, the unmarked Pauleta was perfectly positioned and would surely have scored his second to effectively settle the contest.
Quaresma's trickery gave new verve to the Porto attack, meanwhile, and his deflected left-wing cross worried Letizi sufficiently for the PSG goalkeeper to tip over the crossbar. Fernández's final throw of the dice saw skipper Jorge Costa substituted as Porto went to three at the back, but it was too little too late for the European champions. They must now win the return match at Estádio do Dragão on 2 November to have any realistic chance of staying in the competition.