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Group G

Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira hopes his players will be inspired by the loss of influential midfielder Raul Meireles in their opening Champions League Group G match against CSKA Moscow.

Meireles will miss the match after spraining his right foot in training.

“This will provide another incentive for the players to deliver against CSKA,” said the coach.

“I am very confident because of the way the players are working. As well as the three points, we want to win so we can honour a player who was in such good form.”

“We don’t have only one game plan,” he added. “We have to prepare ourselves for different situations during the game and that’s what we are doing.”

Porto finished bottom of their Champions League group last season but the coach is confident that his players will give a better account of themselves this time around.

“The fact Porto did not do well last season doesn’t necessarily mean more pressure for us,’ the coach added. “CSKA are going to face a team who know just how strong they are. This team may be less experienced when compared with Porto sides of the past, but you only gain experience by playing. This squad want to win and that is what defines their character, desire and motivation.”

Ricardo Quaresma is available for the Portuguese outfit following jaw surgery. Lisandro Lopez could feature up front in place of Hélder Postiga, while Uruguayan right-back Fucile is in line to make his debut for the club. However, Porto will be without Ibson, Bruno Moraes, Tomo Sokota, Pedro Emanuel and Joao Paulo, all of who are missing through injury.

CSKA coach Valeri Gazzaev will be without defender Chidi Odiah, midfielder Kirill Kochubei and striker Jô, while Vassili Berezutski is a doubt at the back.

“More important than winning, drawing or losing in Porto, is to guarantee one of the top two places in the group in order to reach the next round,” said Gazzaev.

“CSKA are a much stronger team now that we have more European experience. Winning the UEFA Cup in 2005 gave us a great lift.”

Probable teams
FC Porto:
Helton; Pepe, Marek Cech, Bosingwa, Bruno Alves; Lucho González, Anderson, Paulo Assuncao; Tarik Sektioui, Lisandro López, Adriano.

Igor Akinfeev; Sergei Ignashevich, Deividas Semberas, Vassili Berezutski; Milos Krasic, Elvir Rahimic, Evgeni Aldonin, Daniel Carvalho, Yuri Zhirkov; Ivica Olic, Vágner Love.

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