Just as they did two years ago, FC Porto defeated PFC CSKA Mosvka on Matchday 5 of the UEFA Champions League to give themselves an excellent chance of reaching the knockout stages while dealing a serious blow to their Russian rivals.
Porto went through at CSKA's expense in 2004 and with one game to play, they are on course to repeat the feat after goals in each half from Ricardo Quaresma and captain Lucho González ensured a Group G victory in Moscow. It was CSKA's first loss of the campaign and though they could still qualify by beating Hamburger SV next month, they will have to do so without Elvir Rahimić and Vágner Love who are both suspended after being booked here. Porto know their destiny is in their own hands when Arsenal FC visit on 6 December.
CSKA's success this season has been built upon the defensive might of Sergei Ignashevich, but a knee injury confined the captain to the substitutes' bench here and the Russian side felt his absence dearly. Just two minutes in Porto's front three combined to brilliant effect. Hélder Postiga sent Lisandro López racing into space down the right and his low cross was rifled in at the far post by Quaresma.
It was the first goal CSKA had conceded in the competition, although a sluggish start was perhaps predictable from the home team who had travelled back from Russia's east coast after reclaiming their domestic title in Vladivostok on Saturday. CSKA nearly gave Porto a second when Deividas Šemberas missed a header and the ball fell kindly for Hélder Postiga. Taken by surprise he fluffed the opportunity, but almost took another moments later, Igor Akinfeev turning his shot away. CSKA's defence was in disarray and from the subsequent corner, Pepe contrived to fire over with the goal at his mercy.
Akinfeev in action
CSKA were riding their luck, much as they had done in their goalless draw at Arsenal FC three weeks ago, although when the influential Dudu hobbled off midway through the opening half it was perhaps a sign that fortune was turning against them. Porto maintained the upper hand and Akinfeev remained the busier goalkeeper, saving first from Lisandro López then keeping out a swerving drive from Hélder Postiga. Far from being frozen out in Moscow, Porto were turning up the heat as fine drizzle threatened to extinguish the hosts' fire.
CSKA had scored just twice in four Matchdays and were struggling to make chances again here, coming closest though Daniel Carvalho's long-range free-kick ten minutes into the second period. Porto, though, were still the more dangerous and doubled their lead six minutes later, with Quaresma again heavily involved; his cross gave Lisandro López the opportunity to head the ball back into the path of Lucho González, who drove low beyond Akinfeev from the edge of the area.
Valeri Gazzaev responded by bringing on striker Ivica Olić but he could not change the course of the match. Instead CSKA had Akinfeev to thank for a block on Fucile as the Uruguayan bore down on goal. CSKA fans had come out in numbers hoping to see their side collect the win that would have taken them into the last 16 for the first time. As the final whistle blew, however, it was Porto celebrating.