Derlei dealt Christmas blow

FC Porto striker Derlei is likely to miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee.

FC Porto have confirmed that striker Derlei is likely to miss the remainder of the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee.

Serious injury
At a press conference on Tuesday, the UEFA Cup holders announced that the Brazilian-born striker, who was carried off the pitch during his side's 2-1 win against Alverca Futebol SAD on Monday, had sustained a serious injury which was likely to keep him out of the remainder of Porto's campaigns in the league and the UEFA Champions League.

Grim prediction
"We can't say for certain that it [Derlei's season] is over," said Porto club doctor Nelson Puga. "We have hopes that won't be the case, but it is highly likely it is over."

Bad news
The injury is a massive blow for Porto as they look ahead to their two-legged meeting with Manchester United FC in their first match of the knockout round of the Champions League. The top scorer in the Portuguese league this season with 12 goals, Derlei has just extended his Porto contract until 2007 but is facing a long struggle to return to action.

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