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Porto out to maintain Russian record at Zenit

FC Porto have won all four of their previous visits to Russia but may find it tougher against an FC Zenit St Petersburg side who had a 100% record at home in Europe last term.

Jorge Fucile helped Porto beat Spartak last season
Jorge Fucile helped Porto beat Spartak last season ©Getty Images

FC Porto visit Group G rivals FC Zenit St Petersburg on matchday two looking to maintain their formidable record on Russian soil.

• The Portuguese title holders have a 100% record in Russia and prevailed there twice last season, scoring six goals in the process. In addition, they began with a 2-1 home win against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, while Zenit surprisingly went down by the same scoreline at APOEL FC.

• Zenit have never faced Porto before but need only turn to defender Bruno Alves for information about their visitors – the defender spent ten years as a Porto player before moving to Russia in August 2010.

Match background
• Last season Zenit earned seven successive victories in St Petersburg between the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round and the UEFA Europa League round of 16. Porto, meanwhile, achieved a seven-match winning streak on the road during their triumphant UEFA Europa League campaign, ending with a 3-2 semi-final second-leg defeat at Villarreal CF.

• Zenit did not win at home in their debut UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in 2008/09, losing to Real Madrid CF (1-2) and drawing against FC BATE Borisov (1-1) and Juventus (0-0).

• Zenit won both home outings in their only other previous campaign among the continent's elite, beating Vålerenga Fotball and FC Lahti in the 1985/86 European Champion Clubs' Cup.

• In the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League play-offs the Russian side lost 5-4 on aggregate to a CD Nacional team including Porto goalkeeper Rafael Bracali. After a 4-3 first-leg loss, Zenit looked on course to advance when leading 1-0 through Fatih Tekke's first-half strike back in St Petersburg, but an 89th-minute Nacional equaliser from Rúben Micael, who spent last season at Porto, meant aggregate defeat for Zenit.

• Zenit had previously overcome Vitória SC 2-1 at home in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage.

• Porto have won on their four previous visits to Russia, including twice last term. In the UEFA Europa League round of 16 they prevailed 1-0 at PFC CSKA Moskva through a Fredy Guarín goal and the same player was on target again in a 5-2 victory at FC Spartak Moskva in the next round. Hulk, Cristian Rodríguez, Falcao and Rúben Micael also scored as Porto concluded a spectacular 10-3 aggregate triumph.

• In the UEFA Champions League Porto twice won at CSKA in the group stage, 1-0 in 2004/05 and 2-0 two years later.

Team ties
• Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti has encountered Portuguese opposition before in the UEFA Champions League group stage, guiding AS Roma to a 2-1 home victory and 2-2 away draw against a Sporting Clube de Portugal side including João Moutinho in 2007/08.

• Bruno Alves made 119 league appearances for Porto, winning four league titles, three Portuguese Cups and two Super Cups before joining Zenit.

• Danny earned one win, one draw and one defeat against Porto while at CS Marítimo between 2001 and 2004.

• Bruno Alves and Danny are Portuguese international colleagues of Moutinho, Rolando and Silvestre Varela.

• Steven Defour suffered a 3-0 defeat at Zenit with R. Standard de Liège in the first leg of a 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round tie that the Russian side won 4-1 on aggregate. He lined up against his Belgian international colleague Nicolas Lombaerts as well as Aleksandr Anyukov and Konstantin Zyryanov.

• Defour faced Zyryanov, Roman Shirokov and Aleksandr Kerzhakov when helping Belgium beat Russia 2-0 in a Voronezh friendly in November last year.

• Sergei Semak and Cristian Rodríguez were team-mates at Paris Saint-Germain FC in 2005/06.

• Rolando got the better of Szabolcs Huszti when Portugal won 1-0 against Hungary in a September 2009 qualifier for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

• In August 2009 Nicolás Otamendi featured for Argentina in a 3-2 friendly win against a Russia team including Anyukov, Denisov, Semak, Zyryanov and Kerzhakov.

• Moutinho, Rolando, and Silvestre Varela were in the Portugal team beaten on penalties in a play-off for the 2008 Olympic Games by Alessandro Rosina's Italy at the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

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