A goal by Brazilian striker Ailton
earned APOEL Nicosia a 1-1 draw against a disappointing Porto to extend the
Cypriot outsiders' impressive start and keep them top of Champions League Group
G on Wednesday.
Another Brazilian forward, Hulk, put Porto ahead after 13 minutes with a
curving free-kick from distance that bounced off the ground before flying past
APOEL keeper Dionisios Chiotis, who should have done better.
The visitors levelled with their first shot six minutes later when Ailton
received the ball close to the Porto area, dribbled past Fernando and sent a
fine diagonal shot that gave keeper Helton no chance.
Porto were slow, predictable in attack and lacked the fluidity that led them
to win the Europa league last season, rarely threatening in the second half.
"We lacked tranquility, wanting to do things too quickly, without patience
and with little confidence in exchanging passes," coach Vitor Pereira said.
After the equaliser the Portuguese side dominated but APOEL always looked
dangerous and midfielder Constantinos Charalambides sent a free-kick from the
right that defender Marcelo Oliveira headed just wide on the half hour.
After 63 minutes, in one of the few chances of the second half, Argentina
defender Nicolas Otamendi lost the ball in dangerous territory to APOEL's Nuno
Morais who ran with it and fired a strong shot that Helton struggled to save.
"We could have done things better and lacked intensity. We knew they were
going to be a tricky team," said Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho.
Kleber almost snatched the three points in injury-time, reaching substitute
Silvestre Varela's cross just late but moments later APOEL substitute Aldo
Adorno was denied the winner at the other end by a fine block from Helton.
The draw keeps APOEL top of Group G on five points, one ahead of Zenit St
Petersburg, who drew 2-2 at Shakhtar Donetsk. Porto are also on four, with
Shakhtar on two.
"The group is wide open and we have to rectify this result by winning in
Cyprus in the next match," added Pereira.
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