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Porto have reason to be wary of APOEL reunion

FC Porto are looking to bounce back from their defeat at FC Zenit St Petersburg but know from past experience that surprise group leaders APOEL FC are not to be taken lightly.

Marios Ilia struggles to contain Hulk during Porto's win in Nicosia in 2009
Marios Ilia struggles to contain Hulk during Porto's win in Nicosia in 2009 ©Getty Images

FC Porto will look to bounce back from their matchday two defeat at FC Zenit St Petersburg when they host the surprise Group G leaders, APOEL FC.

• APOEL's draw at FC Shakhtar Donetsk last time out put them a point above Porto and Zenit, their matchday one victims, and suggested that the Cypriot champions will prove tricky opponents for Vítor Pereira's men, just as they were when the sides met two years ago.

Previous meetings
• The clubs locked horns for the first time in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage. APOEL gave Porto a scare at the Estádio do Dragão on 21 October 2009 by taking the lead through Álvaro Pereira's own goal (22) but Hulk equalised (33) and hit a penalty winner (48) as the hosts prevailed despite Mariano González's dismissal (74).

• The lineups were:
Porto: Helton, Fucile, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Álvaro Pereira, Fernando, Meireles (Săpunaru 90), Mariano, Hulk, Cristian Rodríguez (Guarín 69), Falcao (Farías 87).
APOEL: Chiotis, Satsias (Papathanasiou 78), Broerse, Grnčarov, Ilia, Charalambides, Michail (Alexandrou 60), Nuno Morais, Kosowski (Breška 38), Hélio Pinto, Mirosavljević.

• No Cypriot senior side has defeated Portuguese opposition at either club or international level but APOEL ran Porto close again in Nicosia on 3 November before succumbing to Falcao's late goal (84). With that victory Jesualdo Ferreira's team secured qualification with two games to spare while APOEL finished bottom of the group.

Match background
• Porto have collected eight wins and only one defeat in their last ten home European outings.

• It is three years since Porto last suffered back-to-back losses in Europe but they will take nothing for granted against APOEL who, even before holding Shakhtar, had shown they are no pushovers away from home. They performed creditably on the road in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League with draws at Club Atlético de Madrid and Chelsea FC besides that narrow loss in Porto.

• En route to this season's group stage, Ivan Jovanovič's men won at KS Skënderbeu and ŠK Slovan Bratislava before a 1-0 reverse at Wisła Kraków in the play-offs.

• APOEL's first encounter with Portuguese opposition was a 16-1 reverse at Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 1963/64 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round, a margin that remains a UEFA club competition record. They lost the second leg 2-0.

Team ties
• APOEL's Kaká faces Porto again five months after losing out to them as an SC Braga substitute in the UEFA Europa League final. During last season's loan at Braga he also suffered a 2-0 home league defeat by Porto, having also lost on four previous occasions with A. Académica de Coimbra between 2006 and 2008.

• Gustavo Manduca and Marcinho scored a goal apiece in CS Marítimo's 2-2 home league draw with Porto on 2 October 2005, a match that Nuno Morais, then on loan with the Madeira club, watched from the bench. Marcinho spent five years with Marítimo while Manduca also played for FC Felgueiras, GD Chaves, FC Paços de Ferreira and SL Benfica.

• APOEL's squad includes Portuguese trio Nuno Morais, Paulo Jorge and Hélio Pinto but only Paulo Jorge has previous experience of actually playing against Porto when at Braga.

• Fernando Belluschi was in the Olympiacos FC side eliminated by Cyprus's Anorthosis Famagusta FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. He scored Olympiacos's winner in the home leg, but they lost 3-1 on aggregate.

• João Moutinho was a substitute in Portugal's 4-4 home draw with Cyprus in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying in September 2010, a match also featuring APOEL's Savvas Poursaitides, Marios Ilia, Constantinos Charalambides and Marinos Satsias.

• Moutinho started the return fixture on 2 September this year, when Portugal prevailed 4-0 against a Cyprus side including Poursaitides, Charalambides and Nektarios Alexandrou.

• Sanel Jahić played in the Bosnia and Herzegovina team beaten by Portugal in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off. Jahić had scored in a 4-2 group victory at Steven Defour's Belgium in March 2009.

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