Ivan Trickovski and APOEL got past Porto

Ivan Trickovski (yellow) in action; photo: Yahoo!APOEL continued their improbable run in the Champions League with a dramatic 2:1 victory over Porto to remain on top of Group G.

Ivan Trickovski started for APOEL and played until the 85th minute when he was replaced by fellow attacker Esteban Solari.  Trickovski played on the right wing in the first half but was switched over to the left wing after the break.  APOEL scored the opening goal in the 42nd minute when striker Ailton Almeida converted a penalty.  Ailton was also responsible for the spot kick as he showed good dribbling skills before he was brought down inside the area by a Porto defender. 

As for Trickovski, he did not attempt one shot on goal but he still played an important role in the win.  Trickovski was not only asked to drop back and help out on defense but also to provide service to the lone striker Ailton Almeida and make dangerous runs on counter attacks.  According to UEFA.com, Ivan ran for 10.48 kilometers during his 85 minutes on the pitch.

However, the drama occurred after the substitution.  In the 89th minute, with APOEL still leading 1:0, Porto was given a penalty of their own by the Italian referee.  Striker Hulk converted the spot kick to tie the game at 1:1.  It then seemed destined that the match would end in a draw but APOEL showed resiliency and scored the game winning goal in the 90th minute through Gustavo Manduca to clinch the narrow home victory over Porto.  Manduca connected with a shot from close range after a good, low cross from the right by his teammate Constantinos Charalambides.

With the win, APOEL remained in first place of Group G with 8 points after four matchdays in the Champions League.  Zenit is second with 7 points, Porto stayed in third place with 4 points, while Shakhtar Donetsk is in last place with only 2 points.  The next game for APOEL in the competition is on 23 November when they travel to Russia to take on Zenit.

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