UEFA Champions League Preview: Zenit St Petersburg v Porto
By Football News
Zenit will hope to continue their unbeaten home record this season when they host Porto in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
Luciano Spalletti's side have not lost in all 10 of their home fixtures in all competitions, with seven of them ending in victories.
As a result, they sit three points clear at the top of the Russian Premier League, with the goals of Danny and Hulk crucial.
Midfielder Danny has netted 12 this season - already three times more than he scored last term - while ex-Porto forward Hulk has weighed in with nine, including two in the Champions League.
Zenit sit second in Group G and have already beaten one side from Portugal this season, toppling Pacos de Ferreira 8-3 on aggregate in the play-offs for Europe's premier club competition.
The result of this match will be vital in determining the outcome of the group, with Zenit and Porto set to battle it out for second place behind runaway leaders Atletico Madrid.
The Russian giants have never lost to a Portuguese side, winning four matches and drawing one, including a 3-1 win over Porto in the group stage of the 2011-12 competition.
Spalletti will demand more from his side than they have showed in their last two encounters though.
They were knocked out of the Russian Cup last week, defeated 2-0 at second-tier FC Tyumen in the round of 32, while they were held to a 1-1 league draw by Amkar Perm on Saturday.
They will take heart from their 1-0 win at Porto last month, though, with Aleksandr Kerzhakov's goal - which was scored with five minutes left - his 27th in Europe.
Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel will sit out the match through suspension, while Vyacheslav Malafeev has recovered from a calf injury but is unlikely to start.
Porto also top their league by three points, having posted seven wins and two draws from their first nine matches of the Primeira Liga season.
Paulo Fonseca's side were held to a 1-1 draw at Belenenses on Saturday, with Eliaquim Mangala's strike cancelled out by Joao Pedro.
Porto are taking part in their 18th UEFA Champions League campaign - only Manchester United have played in the tournament more times - and boast victories in four of their five trips to Russia in the competition.
They are unbeaten in an incredible 52 league matches, with their last defeat - which came against Gil Vicente in January 2012 - their only loss in their last 108 Primeira Liga matches.
Colombian Jackson Martinez topped the scoring charts in Portugal with 26 goals last term and he is in good form for Porto - who will miss the suspended Hector Herrera - again this season with nine strikes so far.