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Spalletti calls on big players to decide Porto duel

While FC Zenit's Luciano Spalletti expects the Group G meeting with FC Porto to be decided by "key individuals", Paulo Fonseca has vowed to "do whatever we can to win".

Luciano Spalletti's side won 1-0 in Portugal on matchday three
Luciano Spalletti's side won 1-0 in Portugal on matchday three ©AFP/Getty Images

Luciano Spalletti expects FC Zenit's even-looking UEFA Champions League Group G encounter with FC Porto to be decided by "key individuals". Zenit and Porto appear to be vying for second spot in the section behind Club Atlético de Madrid, making Wednesday's meeting in Russia potentially pivotal. For Spalletti's Porto counterpart Paulo Fonseca, there is little option but to go for the jugular – lose and their chances of reaching the round of 16 will verge on the tenuous.

Luciano Spalletti, coach

We will be in excellent condition tomorrow. For us it makes no difference how Porto play as we are thinking about how to win. I've seen all of Porto's recent games and I think they are a very strong team who continue to enjoy success every season despite the loss of some important players.

It doesn't matter how they have played recently, the only thing that is important is what happens on the pitch. They will come to get the three points and we need the same thing. Let's wait and see who gets what they want. For a strong team there is no obstacle – not even rain or snow should stop us playing our own game.

Skilful players can be decisive tomorrow. When both teams have a number of talented individuals, then it is not the tactical nuances that decide the outcome but how the key players perform. The result will also be determined by the mentality and the team spirit shown.

Weekend result
Saturday: Zenit 1-1 FC Amkar Perm (Danny 39; Phibel 26)
Lodygin; Smolnikov, Neto, Lombaerts, Criscito; Fayzulin (Shatov 62), Shirokov (Bystrov 85), Witsel; Arshavin (Kerzhakov 46), Hulk, Danny.

• Forward Danny has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season; he managed four in 2012/13.

Team news
Goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev has not played a competitive game this season but is available again after recovering from a calf injury.

Paulo Fonseca, coach

Despite recent results, this will be a very important game that can fix everything for us, but both teams are very strong. The result tomorrow will show our strength at the moment – it does not matter what has happened in the past.

For Porto, every game is a game to win and Champions League matches are always special. We will do whatever we can to win because the situation in the group does not leave us with any other choice. Our team is aware of – and respects – Zenit's strengths, but the mentality of our team is strong.

These are two sides of roughly the same standard. I don't think Zenit will play it tight in defence – it will be an interesting game. We respect Zenit but Porto have always played in this style and with this ideology. Zenit's players are very strong and skilled, but teamwork is even more important.

Weekend result
Saturday: CF Os Belenenses 1-1 Porto (João Pedro 34; Mangala 30)
Helton; Danilo, Mangala, Otamendi, Alex Sandro; Fernando, Lucho (Carlos Eduardo 87), Herrera (Ghilas 79); Varela, Ricardo (Licá 61), Jackson.

• Porto's record nine matches into the 2013/14 Liga season is identical to the previous two campaigns: seven wins and two draws.

Team news
Porto's 18-man squad for the Stadion Petrovski trip includes midfielder Mikel Agu and central defender Diego Reyes, both yet to make their league debut for the Dragons. Juan Quintero – thigh – and the suspended Hector Herrera are unavailable.

Match fact
• Including victories against FC Nordsjælland and FC Paços de Ferreira in this season's qualifying rounds, Zenit have won five of their last seven home outings and have lost just one of the past 24 – 3-2 to AC Milan last term.