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Champions League Preview: Porto - Zenit St Petersburg

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Champions League Preview: Porto - Zenit St Petersburg
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Champions League Preview: Porto - Zenit St Petersburg

Porto will look to keep former player Hulk quiet when he returns to the Estadio do Dragao with Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old spent four seasons with the Portuguese club, scoring 54 goals in 99 league appearances, before moving to Russia in September 2012.

He has already scored in the Champions League this season, but Luciano Spalletti's men have picked up just one point from their two games in Group G so far. 

After losing to Atletico Madrid in their opener, they drew 0-0 against Austria Vienna, with Tuesday's tie likely to be a close one between the sides placed second and third in the group. 

Both are top of their domestic leagues and, while Porto has never lost at home against Russian opposition in the competition, Zenit has the better head-to-head record. 

The Russian Premier League outfit won the sides' first meeting 3-1 in 2011 before the reverse group-stage fixture ended 0-0. 

Porto has gone 50 matches unbeaten in the league though, and the Primeira Liga champion also won all four of its home fixtures in last season's Champions League.

However, the club was beaten at home by Atletico last time out and if it is to bounce back from that disappointment, the team is likely to need striker Jackson Martinez on top form. 

The Colombia international has scored seven times in the league this season, as well as once in the Champions League. 

Zenit, on the other hand, has lost four of its last five away games in the Champions League group stages and will be without midfielder Axel Witsel after he was sent off against Austria Vienna. 

Both sides come into the game off the back of domestic wins, with Porto beating Trofense 1-0 in the Taca de Portugal on Saturday and Zenit downing reigning Russian champion CSKA Moscow 2-0 on Friday thanks to goals from Roman Shirokov and Hulk. 

Russia international Shirokov is another danger that Paulo Fonseca's men will need to be aware of, as he has scored five times in the Champions League this season, including a hat trick in a 4-1 playoff win over Pacos de Ferreira, which took place at Porto's Estadio do Dragao.

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