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Coach Jesualdo Ferreira has warned his FC Porto side they will need to improve on recent performances if they are to defeat APOEL FC and seal a place in the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League. Porto will advance should they win and Club Atlético de Madrid fail to beat Chelsea FC in Tuesday's other Group D game. But after his team only narrowly overcame the Cypriot champions on Matchday 3, and were then held 1-1 by CF Os Belenenses on Friday, Ferreira knows Porto must do better in Nicosia. Meanwhile, having pushed the Portuguese titleholders far in Porto, APOEL coach Ivan Jovanović wants his charges to step up a gear in search of their first group-stage victory.
Ivan Jovanović, APOEL coach
We're looking forward to the game. We hope it will be yet another exciting night of Champions League football. We have already seen that Porto are a very strong and determined side who play good attacking football. We gained experience from the first game and will be making some changes ahead of Tuesday's rematch. If we want to win, we will have to up the level of our performance, although that is never easy against such strong opponents. We will give our all against them because this game is very important to us. We want our first win in the group.
Jesualdo Ferreira, Porto coach
Our aim is to give our best and win all our games. This is a different match from the one in Porto and that is how we'll approach it. To win, we will have to play even better than we did in the first game against APOEL, who will be much stronger at home with a full stadium behind them. We saw from the match in Porto that APOEL are a good team so we will need to overcome the problem of our missing players and motivate the side. We respect our opponents, we know they will be tougher at home, but as with all the games in our group we want to win.
30/10/09 Aris Limassol FC 0-2 APOEL
(Kontis 21, Charalambides 75pen)
• APOEL have conceded just five goals in their last nine games in all competitions.
• APOEL have lost only twice at home in 25 matches – a run spanning 21 wins and two draws – since a 4-1 defeat by FC Schalke 04 in the UEFA Cup first round in September 2008. Those reverses came against Chelsea FC on Matchday 2 and against AC Omonia on the final day of last season, with the title already secured.
30/10/09 Porto 1-1 CF Os Belenenses
(Farías 64; Lima 46)
• The draw ended Porto's sequence of six successive victories in all competitions. Farías's effort was his fourth in eight Liga outings, just two of which have been as a starter.
• Porto have lost only once – 1-0 at SC Braga on 19 September – in 32 Liga games since 1 November 2008, winning 24.
Out: Adrian Sikora (knee), Marcin Żewłakow (calf)
Doubtful: Paulo Jorge (leg muscle tear), Altin Haxhi (calf), Kamil Kosowski (knee)
Misses next match if booked: Marinos Satsias
Out: Diego Valeri (ankle), Fucile (thigh), Miguel Lopes (thigh), Silvestre Varela (thigh)
Suspended: Mariano González
Misses next match if booked: none
• No senior Cypriot side have ever beaten or even drawn with opponents from Portugal so APOEL will hope to create a slice of history when they take on Porto.
• The Portuguese champions survived a scare on Matchday 3 after Álvaro Pereira's 22nd-minute own goal put APOEL in front. Hulk levelled eleven minutes later before scoring what proved the winner from the penalty spot three minutes after half-time. The victory gives Porto a five-point cushion in second place in Group D, with APOEL third.
• That Estádio do Dragão fixture was the first time Porto had encountered opposition from Cyprus in UEFA competition.
• APOEL had previously faced only one Portuguese team, going down 16-1 at Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 1963/64 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round – still a record loss for any side in UEFA club competition. A 2-0 home reverse followed.
Did you know?
On 27 October, Porto striker Hulk received his first call-up by Brazil for the friendlies against England and Oman on 14 and 17 November.
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