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Champions League Group G preview: Porto and Zenit face off

6 December 2011 02:06

Liga Sagres champions Porto must beat Zenit St Petersburg if they are to advance to the Champions League knockout stages.

Vitor Pereira's Porto, winners of the Europa League last season, host the Russians in Group G on Tuesday needing three points to progress.

Cypriots APOEL Nicosia have booked their place in the last 16, but if they falter at home to winless Shakhtar Donetsk, they may surrender top spot.

Porto, who are a point behind Zenit, suffered a 3-1 loss when the sides met earlier this campaign after midfielder Roman Shirokov netted a brace.

A draw will not be enough at Estadio do Dragao, and Kleber and Hulk, who have each netted six goals in the league, will need to cause problems up front.

Hulk has led their scorers in the Champions League, and the highly-rated Brazilian who set up Colombian James Rodriguez's goal in Russia will be a key if Porto are to win.

Zenit, the runaway Russian Premier League leaders, may again be without top-scorer Alexander Kerzhakov because of injury.

Meanwhile, APOEL Nicosia are aiming to secure top spot in the group when they host Shakhtar Donetsk.

Currently on a four-match unbeaten run, APOEL, the first Cypriot team to reach the last 16 in Champions League history, will be relying on Brazilian striker Ailton Jose Almeida to continue impressing.

The former Copenhagen goal-scorer has netted three of APOEL's six goals in the Champions League this campaign, and Ivan Jovanovic will be keen to ensure his side stays undefeated in the group.

Argentine Esteban Solari has been the key contributor in their league campaign, finding the net on five occasions.

Bottom of the group with just two points, last season's quarter-finalists Shakhtar will be looking to salvage some pride.

Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano has scored seven goals in the Ukrainian Premier League, leading all Shakhtar players, and will be counted on to add to his two-goal Champions League tally.

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