Hulk powers Porto past Apoel
Porto boosted their prospects of qualifying for the knock-out phase after a 2-1 home win over Apoel Nicosia.
Last Updated: 21/10/09 10:04pm
Porto boosted their prospects of qualifying for the knock-out phase of the UEFA Champions League after a 2-1 home win over Apoel Nicosia.
The Portuguese side dominated the contest for long periods, but were given a shock when Alvaro Pereira's own goal gave Apoel the lead midway through the first half.
However, Hulk equalised on 33 minutes and then converted a penalty early in the second half to leave Porto in a clear second behind Chelsea in Group D.
Mariano Gonzalez was sent off for Porto late on, but Apoel, who drew 0-0 away to Atletico Madrid last month, were unable to conjure up an equaliser.
Porto battered Apoel during the first half, but despite firing in 19 shots, visiting keeper Dionisios Chiotis was not seriously tested on a regular basis.
Cristian Rodriguez volleyed wildly off target early on before Hulk's mazy run from the right wing resulted in a low shot drifting across the face of goal.
Falcao had a shot from distance comfortably saved before Raul Meireles' well-struck drive prompted a save on the stretch from Chiotis.
Apoel rarely threatened at the opposite end, yet somehow took the lead on 22 minutes when Constantinos Charalambides failed to connect with Helio Pinto's cross and the ball bounced off Porto defender Pereira and beyond the helpless keeper Helton.
Normal service was quickly resumed with Porto back on the front foot and Meireles curled a free-kick over before the equaliser arrived on 33 minutes.
A poor header gifted Falcao possession and he played in Hulk inside the area to slot confidently beyond the exposed Chiotis.
Bruno Alves then saw a free-kick deflected over after Chiotis had been penalised for handling Boban Grncarov's back-pass, while Rodriguez headed a good chance over from a corner late in the half.
The 2004 winners took the lead on 48 minutes when Mariano Elias was penalised for handball and Hulk calmly sent Chiotis the wrong way from the penalty spot.
There was barely any respite for Apoel and the lead should have been increased on 53 minutes only for Falcao to somehow side-foot wide from close range following a low cross from the left.
Chiotis then saved with his legs from Rodriguez and also easily held an effort from 25 yards from Fernando.
Apoel belatedly had a first shot of the night on 62 minutes when first-half substitute Mario Breska's attempt was gathered by Helton.
The visitors were given a potential lifeline back into the game with 15 minutes to go when Porto's Mariano Gonzalez was sent off after his swinging arm caught Marinos Satsias on the back of the head.
However, Helton continued to be untroubled in the Porto goal to put the Portuguese outfit in a strong position to make the last 16.
|FC Porto||Team Statistics||Apoel Nicosia|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|10||Shots on Target||1|
|16||Shots off Target||2|