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Porto's 'Tiger' ready to pounce in Moscow

Published: Monday 7 March 2011, 20.00CET
With seven UEFA Europa League goals this term, FC Porto striker Falcao is called 'El Tigre' with good reason, and his hunt for more goals now takes him to PFC CSKA Moskva.
by Nuno Tavares
from Porto

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CSKA MoskvaPorto

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Published: Monday 7 March 2011, 20.00CET

Porto's 'Tiger' ready to pounce in Moscow

With seven UEFA Europa League goals this term, FC Porto striker Falcao is called 'El Tigre' with good reason, and his hunt for more goals now takes him to PFC CSKA Moskva.

The tiger appears out of nowhere, pounces on its victim and then vanishes. Its prey seldom has time to blink. Some of Falcao's opponents might recognise that modus operandi – FC Porto's Colombian striker is not nicknamed El Tigre for nothing.

Falcao has taken this season's UEFA Europa League by storm, hitting seven goals to top the competition's scoring chart and help Porto to reach the last 16, where they face PFC CSKA Moskva. The 25-year-old, whose tally includes a hat-trick at SK Rapid Wien in December, shares his moniker with the legendary Brazilian goalscorer, Arthur Friedenreich, and his knack of finding the net is not confined to UEFA competition: he has scored 101 in 179 matches at club level, including 36 in 44 league games since joining Porto in 2009.

"I want to make history with Porto, to win the league as I did with River Plate in Argentina," Falcao said. "Nothing can top that." Although the Colombian was denied that honour by SL Benfica in his debut season at the Estádio do Dragão, he is on course to achieve his ambition this term with an unbeaten Porto side who hold an 11-point advantage over the reigning champions with eight rounds to go. Falcao has played his part for André Villas-Boas's side, hitting 11 league goals despite missing several games with a knee injury. "We are all focused on the same objective," he said. "The team is playing really well and the results show it."

On the continental stage, meanwhile, Porto breezed through the UEFA Europa League group stage only to find themselves paired with tough Spanish opposition in the round of 32 in Sevilla FC, with the Dragons progressing on away goals. Falcao, who missed the 2-1 win in Spain before starting the 1-0 home defeat, is aware another tough challenge awaits in Moscow with the first leg against CSKA, saying: "It was a difficult tie against Sevilla and we were relieved to advance but now we'll have to be at our best once again if we are to get past CSKA."

Given the location of his fixture, it is fitting to mention that Porto's fans could well have been cheering for Blokhin instead of Falcao had the striker's father, Radamel García, himself a one-time defender, decided differently when naming his son. García eventually chose to call him after the former Brazil and AS Roma midfielder Roberto Falcão, at the time one of the players he most admired; another candidate, though, had been Soviet Union forward Oleh Blokhin.

"Falcão was a player with enormous skill and very elegant on the ball. That's why I decided that if I had a son I would call him Falcão," said the Porto man's father. Little did he know at the time that his son would one day be named El Tigre. CSKA will have to watch out if they are not to become his latest victim.

Last updated: 07/12/13 5.55CET