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Pereira tells Porto to take APOEL on merit

FC Porto coach Vítor Pereira warned his players to stay on their guard against an APOEL FC side that have taken four points from meetings with FC Zenit St Petersburg and FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

Vítor Pereira orchestrates training on the eve of matchday three
Vítor Pereira orchestrates training on the eve of matchday three ©Getty Images

FC Porto coach Vítor Pereira warned his side not to let their guard down as they prepare to welcome surprise Group G frontrunners APOEL FC to the Estádio do Dragão. The Dragons narrowly won both fixtures when the sides met in the group stage two years ago, but having beaten FC Zenit St Petersburg and drawn at FC Shakhtar Donetsk, the Cypriot champions are not being taken lightly.

Coach Vítor Pereira

This is important, but for Porto every match is important; this is just one more game to win. APOEL surprised Zenit at home, then Shakhtar away. They have had the same coach for five years now and are gaining experience in the Champions League. They are good on the counterattack and make the most of their opponents' mistakes, as we saw against Shakhtar.

Winning games is the ticket to the next phase of this tournament, so they are all important. Our objective is to win every match, but for now we're only thinking about tomorrow's match.

Weekend result
CA Pêro Pinheiro 0-8 Porto (Defour 30, Walter 33 35 45 90+1, Djalma 40 57, Varela 61)
Bracali (Kadu 81); Săpunaru, Maicon, Mangala, Alex Sandro; Souza, Belluschi, Defour; Djalma (Cristian Rodríguez 65), Walter, Iturbe (Varela 46)

• Kadú, still more than a month off his 17th birthday, came on to become Porto's youngest ever player as Pereira's side coasted into the Portuguese Cup fourth round. Steven Defour and Djalma scored their first goals for Porto.

Team news
Kléber has not featured since injuring his left shoulder at Zenit, though Pereira expects him to be fit for Wednesday.

Coach Ivan Jovanovič

We won't compromise our style. Porto will cause us problems, a team with a very fast attack, and we have to find solutions. We're happy to be back after two years and we'll be up against a great team at a great stadium. At this point of the group stage it is very important. We're in first place after two matches but it is still way too early. We're happy with our first two games and want a good result tomorrow too.

[In the past two years] Porto have lost Bruno Alves, Raul Meireles and Falcao, but many of the other players are the same. Porto are a very important team on the European stage and we have to respect them. They are the strongest team in the group, and favourites to go through in first place.

Weekend result
APOEL 0-1 AEL Limassol FC (Monteiro 56)
Chiotis; Poursaitides, Kaká (Belaid 64), Oliveira, Boaventura; Jahić, Nuno Morais, Hélio Pinto, Adorno (Charalambides 71); Aílton, Solari (Trickovski 58)

• APOEL were replaced at the top by AEL after their first defeat in nine games. Esteban Solari had a 40th-minute penalty saved by Matías Degra, meaning APOEL have still scored only two of their 25 goals this season before half-time.

Team news
Marcinho sat out the AEL defeat because of a thigh injury sustained in training last week and is unlikely to return. Paulo Jorge and Gustavo Manduca should recover from hamstring injuries to play.

Match fact
It is three years since Porto last suffered back-to-back losses in Europe but, as they showed in Donetsk three weeks ago, APOEL 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 and a 2-1 loss in Porto.

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