Hulk enjoyed his winning return to the Estádio do Dragão as FC Zenit came away with all three points, with team-mate Luís Neto adding: "It was really important for us."
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FC Porto had never lost at home to a Russian side before, but FC Zenit are in prime form domestically and managed to transfer that to the UEFA Champions League stage at the Estádio do Dragão – courtesy of substitute Aleksandr Kerzhakov's late winner. Former Dragons forward Hulk admitted it had been an emotional night on his return, despite his own outstanding display, while team-mate Luís Neto concurred that Zenit would be wary of "a very strong side" ahead of the potentially decisive return fixture at the Stadion Petrovski.
Hulk, Zenit forward
For me, it was great to be back in this stadium where I spent four very happy years of my life. It was good to see the fans who supported me during my time at Porto and they gave me a good welcome back. I am a professional. I am happy because we got a positive result, but I will never forget Porto.
I think Porto have a great team with great players, and they have fans who really get behind their team, so it is very positive for us to have won here. When they play at home against Sporting [Clube de Portugal] on Sunday, I will be supporting them. The return match? I think it is going to be a great one, just like this one was. They always play to win, so we will have to concentrate to get the victory.
Luís Neto, Zenit defender
It was really important for us. We are in a good spell in our domestic championship. We wanted this to continue in the Champions League after the [0-0 home] draw with [Austria] Wien, and now to have won this important game – though it is not quite decisive – is a good result. A defeat here would have made it difficult for us.
It is normal that playing against ten men meant we were a little more comfortable than we might have been, but Porto still had a good number of opportunities to score. On the other hand, that is normal too – they are a very strong team, playing at home, and even with ten they continued to make things difficult for us. Fortunately they hit the bar [through Silvestre Varela] and we managed to score our goal when time was running out.