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Marseille and Porto to build on start

Already clear of Liverpool FC and Beşiktaş JK, the winners of Olympique de Marseille's game with FC Porto will take a commanding lead in Group A.

Erik Gerets (right) enjoyed a dream start at Anfield on Matchday 2
Erik Gerets (right) enjoyed a dream start at Anfield on Matchday 2 ©Getty Images

Matching 1-0 away victories on Matchday 2 have built a platform for Olympique de Marseille and FC Porto to go on and dominate Group A. They have six and four points respectively and a healthy advantage over back markers Liverpool FC and Beşiktaş JK.

• Marseille's victory at Anfield – secured by Mathieu Valbuena's strike 13 minutes from time – was a marvellous way to follow up their home win against Beşiktaş on 18 September and a memorable debut for new coach Erik Gerets. They now have the chance at the Stade Vélodrome to open up a five-point advantage on their pursuers, not a bad position for the Ligue 1 runners-up who were so concerned by their early-season form that they replaced previous coach Albert Emon.

• They will certainly be looking to improve on their previous home game with these opponents. That came in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage when Porto triumphed 3-2. They also lost the away game 1-0 as José Mourinho's men progressed and then went on to face two more French opponents. They got the better of Olympique Lyonnais (2-0 at home, 2-2 away) in the quarter-final and then in the Arena AufSchalke final they enjoyed a resounding 3-0 success over AS Monaco FC to lift the title for the second time.

• Marseille's only other pairing with Portuguese opponents came in the 1989/90 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals. They won 2-1 at home against SL Benfica but lost 1-0 in Lisbon. Benfica went through on away goals and were defeated 1-0 against AC Milan in the final, played in Vienna.

• Porto, in their 13th UEFA Champions League campaign, were disappointed when Dirk Kuyt's goal secured a point for a Liverpool side who played most of the second half with ten men on Matchday 1. However, Jesualdo Ferreira's team bounced back in style to win 1-0 away at Beşiktaş, Ricardo Quaresma scoring in the dying seconds.

• The Portuguese club have a long history of tackling French opponents and in 2004/05, the season after they got the better of three teams from that country on their way to title, they were paired in the group stage with Paris Saint-Germain FC. They lost 2-0 in the French capital before drawing 0-0 at home.

• Porto won on their first visit to France – 1-0 against Lyon in the 1964/65 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup preliminary round – but could not repeat that achievement on their next four visits although the first two ended in draws. Three of those contests came against FC Nantes Atlantique and then came a tie with RC Lens in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup third round. They lost 1-0 away but as they had won 3-0 at home it did not interrupt their progress and they went on to lift that trophy for the first time.

• In a total of eight games in France, Porto have won two and drawn three. Overall, in 17 matches including the 2004 final, they have recorded eight wins over French opponents with five draws.