FC Porto will be disappointed with their 0-0 Matchday 1 draw against PFC CSKA Moskva after dominating but not winning a sparkling encounter.
A virtuoso display from the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Ball winner, Anderson, was worth the admission money on its own. However, despite the Brazilian winger's succession of tricks, shots and surging runs past CSKA defenders, the 2004 European champions could not capitalise on their superiority.
The beauty of this Group G match was that, from the outset, both CSKA and Porto played attacking football with little or no attempt to stifle the game. Although Porto never seemed to suffer for the absence of the injured Raul Meireles in midfield or flu-victim Marek Čech in defence, it was the Russian visitors who enjoyed the early opportunities.
From Daniel Carvalho's seventh-minute corner, Aleksei Berezutski rose above everyone and should have scored but edged his header over. Equally, the open nature of the contest was suiting Porto and their 18-year-old Anderson, ably assisted by Ricardo Quaresma, put on a five-star show to enable the hosts to take control.
Off the woodwork
The former FC Barcelona winger started matters with a tenth-minute dart past CSKA defender Yuri Zhirkov and a ball back across an open goal which Sergei Ignashevich hacked to safety. Then Anderson began to torment his marker, Elvir Rahimić, who would be booked in the 36th minute for hauling down the youngster. The Brazilian drifted past Rahimić before hitting a thundering shot off Igor Akinfeev's right-hand post on 15 minutes.
Anderson continued to mesmerise, bursting down the left flank and into the box to let fly a firm strike just wide of the woodwork. But Adriano, his countryman, was not to be outdone. Between the 24th and 35th minutes he outwitted the CSKA defence and keeper three times to power in headers which missed the goal by centimetres.
Each coach tinkered with his settings at half-time. With his team crying out for a chance-taker, Porto's Jesualdo Ferreira opted to introduce striker Hélder Postiga for midfielder Tarik Sektioui. Meanwhile, CSKA boss Valeri Gazzaev decided that, with Rahimić cautioned, the attempt to subdue Anderson must pass to a combination of Evgeni Aldonin and Deividas Šemberas.
Largely the tactic failed. Twice, either side of the hour, the teenager thrilled the Estádio do Dragão crowd. First he danced past both markers to release Adriano – but the invitation to score was wasted. Next he smacked another shot low and hard only for Akinfeev to grasp it at the second attempt. With Porto so profligate, CSKA began to feel comfortable protecting the 0-0, prompting Jesualdo Ferreira to throw on offensive reinforcements in Alan and Lisandro López. It was López who eventually squandered the clearest opportunity, finding Akinfeev's feet rather than the back of the net.