Donetsk, Ukraine, Nov 24: Two-time champion FC Porto needed two late goals to stay in the hunt for a knockout spot in the Champions League, triumphing 2-0 at Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday to set up a must-win match at home to Zenit St. Petersburg.
Hulk shot beyond goalkeeper Olexandr Rybka with a low right-footed effort from inside the box in the 79th minute after an incisive pass from Joao Moutinho.
Shakhtar defender Razvan Rat redirected Cristian Rodriguez's shot into his own net in the final minute.
Porto is third in Group G, two points behind already qualified APOEL and one back from Zenit. The Portuguese team hosts Zenit and Shakhtar will travel to APOEL in the final round on Dec. 6.
“We stayed focused and that helped us to win today,” Porto coach Vitor Pereira said.
Shakhtar, a quarterfinalist last season, is winless and bottom in the group with two points. But the hosts went forward straight from the kickoff, allowing Luiz Adriano to shoot straight at goalkeeper Helton.
Porto, which won the European Cup in 1987 and 2004, attacked four minutes later when Hulk held off a marker and had his shot blocked on the line by Yaroslav Rakitskiy—who then denied Djalma from the rebound.
Willian came close in the 10th before Adriano hit the post after breaking through following a neat pass from Eduardo.
The visitors seized the initiative after the break and were in control of the rest of the match.
Hulk forced Rybka into making a save from a narrow-angled shot in the 70th. Helton then made two stunning stops, first blocking Vasyl Kobin's shot into the post and then pushing the rebound out for a corner.
“I will ask our supporters' pardon for our poor results in the Champions League this season,” Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said. “We dominated today and hit the crossbar twice, but it looks to be that year when luck was not on our side.”