Sunday, January 11, 2009

No. 9: FC Porto (Portugal)

FC Porto, twice the champions of Europe, had one of the more impressive 3-match runs during the group stage of the Champions League.

Porto suffered back-to-back losses to Arsenal (4-0 at the Emirates) and Dynamo Kyiv (1-0 at home) which left the 23-time Portuguese Liga champions with just three points from three matches.

Porto responded by beating Dynamo in the Ukraine 2-1 on late goals from Rolando and Argentine international Lucho Gonzalez. Porto won again 2-1 on the road against Fenerbahce, then beat Arsenal 2-0 at home to avenge the prior ugly defeat and win the group. Another Argentine international - Lisandro Lopez - had both goals against Fenerbahce and one against Arsenal.

Those players are among a host of footballers from South America on Porto's roster. The list includes a pair of Uraguay national team members in defender Jorge Fucile and forward Cristian Rodriguez.

The club has already made one signing as it hopes to strengthen the team for its Round of 16 Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid (Spain). French left-back Aly Cissokho joined the Portuguese champions for an undisclosed fee from Vitória FC.

In league play, Porto is a point behind leaders Sporting CP and SL Benefica. Porto has won the league, which is ranked 8th by UEFA, in five of the past six seasons.

In the Cup of Portugal, which Porto has won 17 times, Porto faces Leixoes in the quarterfinals.

Rankings so far
1. Manchester United
2. Barcelona
3. Liverpool
4. Chelsea
5. Bayern Munich
6. Inter
7. Juventus
8. Real Madrid
9. Porto


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