Porto coach fears Cypriot threat

BY foxsports • October 19, 2011

Porto coach Vitor Pereira claimed he will not underestimate Cypriot champions APOEL despite the Portuguese club's history in the Champions League.

The Nicosia club are top of Group G following a win over Zenit St Petersburg and a draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in the first games of their European campaign.

Porto lie third in the group on goal difference behind Zenit, and Pereira knows a win over Ivan Jovanovic's improving side is key if they are to progress to the knockout stages.

APOEL made their first appearance in the Champions League two seasons ago, where they finished fourth in a group that contained Chelsea, Atletico Madrid - and Porto.

"This is important, but for Porto every match is important," Pereira told www.uefa.com. "This is just one more game to win.

"APOEL surprised Zenit at home, then Shakhtar away. They have had the same coach for five years now and are gaining experience in the Champions League.

"They are good on the counter-attack and make the most of their opponents' mistakes, as we saw against Shakhtar.

"Winning games is the ticket to the next phase of this tournament, so they are all important. Our objective is to win every match."

Jovanovic knows the threat the former Champions League winners pose but insisted he will not change the focus of his strategy against the reigning Europa League champions.

"We won't compromise our style," Jovanovic said on Tuesday. "Porto will cause us problems, a team with a very fast attack, and we have to find solutions.

"We're happy to be back after two years and we'll be up against a great team at a great stadium.

"At this point of the group stage it is very important. We're in first place after two matches but it is still way too early. We're happy with our first two games and want a good result tomorrow too.

And Serbian Jovanovic, who took charge of APOEL in 2008, knows Porto are the main threat within Group G.

"[In the past two years] Porto have lost Bruno Alves, Raul Meireles and Falcao, but many of the other players are the same.

"Porto are a very important team on the European stage and we have to respect them.

"They are the strongest team in the group, and favourites to go through in first place."

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