Twice-champions FC Porto sneaked into the last 16 of the UEF Champions League on Tuesday with a 2-1 win at Turkey's Fenerbahce, Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez netting a first-half brace. The Portuguese, European champions in 1987 and 2004, stood two points behind Group G leaders Arsenal at the start of play after winning two and losing two of their opening four outings and with the Gunners edging Kiev in London, Porto could not afford to lose ground.
Lopez's two goals inside ten minutes midway through the opening period were just enough to see off a Kazim Kazim consolation as the Portuguese moved onto nine points - two adrift of their English Premier League rivals but comfortably ahead of the Turks and Ukrainians. Fenerbahce, coached by Spain's UEFA EURO 2008 architect Luis Aragones, welcomed back experienced Brazilian defender Roberto Carlos - three times a champion with Real Madrid - while former Newcastle man Emre Belozoglu strove to boss the midfield.
But Jesualdo Ferreira's visitors, playing an adventurous 4-3-3 formation including forward Givanildo Vieira de Souza - nicknamed "the Hulk" after his spell in Japan with the green-clad Tokyo Verdy - were rewarded as Lisandro netted the opener on 19 minutes. Bruno Alves whipped in a cross which home keeper Volkan Demirel could only parry as far as the lurking Lisandro, who made no mistake poking home from close range.
Alves then had a freekick blocked by the wall before Lisandro doubled the advantage on the half hour. Again Demirel was left to curse his luck as he could only half save the striker's first effort following a long throw from Fucile and was helpless to keep out the rebound.
Spanish striker Daniel Guiza then forced Porto keeper Helton to save a snapshot in the dying moments of the first half. Aragones reacted by withdrawing Emre and sending on Kazim Kazim, formerly of Bury, Brighton and Sheffield United who became one of the stars of Turkey's run to the EURO 2008 semi-finals despite being born in the same London suburb as David Beckham.
And Kazim soon had an impact, driving home to put the hosts back in it on 63 minutes, the ball taking a deflection off Alves. Porto then withdrew Lopez, sending on former Inter Milan man Vitor 'Pele' Hugo Gomes Passos and the visitors held on comfortably despite late half-chances for Roberto Carlos and Edu.