Ahead of their decisive meeting in Portugal, FC Porto and Beşiktaş JK are both harbouring high hopes of qualifying for the first knockout round from Group A.
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First plays fourth in Group A at the Estádio do Dragão but with only two points separating all four contenders it is one of the tightest sections in the history of the UEFA Champions League. Ahead of their meeting in Portugal both FC Porto and Beşiktaş JK go into the final fixture harbouring hopes of qualifying for the first knockout round.
• Porto retained top spot in the group despite suffering their first defeat in this season's competition on Matchday 5. Playing away to Liverpool FC, Lisandro López cancelled out Fernando Torres' early goal but three goals in the last 12 minutes gave the English club a convincing victory.
• Nevertheless the Portuguese team are in the happy position of knowing they only have to avoid defeat against the Süper Lig runners-up to book their place in the next phase for the fourth time in five UEFA Champions League campaigns. They will not be short of confidence having won the corresponding fixture between the teams at the Inönü Stadium on 3 October, Ricardo Quaresma scoring in the closing seconds after the home side had enjoyed arguably the better of things.
• Before this season Porto had only faced one Turkish team in competitive matches. That was a UEFA Cup fourth round tie in 2002/03 when they won 6-1 against Denizlispor at home and drew 2-2 away. The As Antas leg was a remarkable affair because with a half-time score of 0-0 there was no hint of the goal extravaganza that was to follow. It underlined the ability of the side then led by José Mourinho, who went on to lift the trophy at the end of the season with a 3-2 extra-time win against Celtic FC in Seville.
• Previously this season, Porto posted a 2-1 win over Olympique de Marseille and a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at the Estádio do Dragão and are building an imposing record on home soil. They have lost just one of their last 18 UEFA Champions League ties there, winning eight and drawing nine. Five of those drawn games have ended 0-0.
• Beşiktaş, in their fourth participation in the competition, have to win if they are to move into the knockout stage for the first time. A draw would not even be enough to claim a place in the UEFA Cup; they would finish fourth on account of their inferior head-to-head records against Liverpool and Marseille.
• Two weeks ago it looked as if the Turkish team were heading out of contention until two minutes from the end of their home game with Marseille when Bobo – who also struck the deciding goal in the 2-1 win in Istanbul against Liverpool on Matchday 3 – scored. Earlier Tello had put the home team ahead from a free-kick with Marseille substitute Taye Taiwo equalising.
• Those two 2-1 wins were a splendid way for Ertuğrul Sağlam's side to bounce back after their 1-0 defeat by Porto on 3 October. That was Beşiktaş' first home game with Portuguese opposition in European competition. Their only previous tie came in the group stage of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup away to Vitória SC when a 3-1 victory proved insufficient to advance in the competition.