Falcao fires Porto into last 16
Falcao the hero for Porto
Last Updated: 03/11/09 10:52pm
Mirosavljevic tangles with Fernando
Falcao's late strike sent Porto into the knockout stages of the Champions League following a 1-0 win over Apoel Nicosia.
Porto's top scorer popped up six minutes from time with the only goal of the game in Cyprus.
In a game of few chances Porto finally made their dominance count with Colombian Falcao ending Apoel's chances of progressing.
Porto dominated possession in the first half, but could not find a way past a stubborn Apoel rearguard.
Apoel came close to breaking the deadlock on 14 minutes when Nenad Mirosavljevic turned neatly on the edge of the box and curled a superb shot which was acrobatically kept out by Porto keeper Helton.
Apoel keeper Dionisios Chiotis had a lucky escape on 20 minutes when he needlessly rushed from his line to confront Hulk and he was relieved to see Joost Broerse get back to clear the danger.
Chiotis almost gifted Porto the lead five minutes later when he let Hulk's comfortable cross slip through his hands only to see it spin the other side of the post for a corner.
The Apoel custodian made up for his mistakes on the half hour when he denied Hulk after the Porto forward beat the offside trap to race clear on goal.
Mirosavljevic had a half chance for Apoel on 33 minutes when he got on the end of a free-kick from Constantinos Charalambidis, but he could not direct his low header on target.
Porto wasted a good opening five minutes before the break when Cristian Rodriguez broke into the box wide on the left and crossed for Hulk, but the big striker took too long to get his shot away and Apoel got enough bodies back to clear the danger.
The visitors really should have grabbed the lead ten minutes into the second half when Falcao found himself one-on-one with Chiotis, but the Apoel keeper got the better of the Porto man.
Chiotis gave the home fans another scare on 63 minutes when he fumbled a free-kick from Rodriguez before grabbing the ball at the second attempt.
Cristian Sapunaru had a sight of goal for Porto on 68 minutes, but leaning back the midfielder blazed his shot well over the top.
Apoel had a great chance to go in front two minutes later when substitute Alexandrou picked out Mirosavljevic inside the box, but the striker could not get enough power on his shot to trouble Helton.
Porto substitute Farias was inches away from breaking the deadlock on 77 minutes when Hulk burst down the left and crossed to the far post, but Farias was unable to get enough contact on the ball to divert it goalwards.
Porto finally made the breakthrough six minutes from time when Falcao made space in the box and drove a low shot past Chiotis.
Apoel threw everything into attack in the closing stages, but Porto held on to book their spot in the last 16.
UEFA Champions League
Tue 3rd Nov - Group D
A Madrid2 - 2Chelsea
Apoel Nicosia0 - 1FC Porto
Tue 3rd Nov - Group A
Bay Munich0 - 2Bordeaux
Maccabi Haifa0 - 1Juventus
Tue 3rd Nov - Group C
Marseille6 - 1FC Zurich
AC Milan1 - 1R Madrid
Tue 3rd Nov - Group B
Man Utd3 - 3CSKA Mosc
Besiktas0 - 3Wolfsburg
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|3||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||5||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||5||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H