Posted by: ariefantasista10 | March 4, 2008

Sevilla need guile to better Fenerbahçe

sev.gifSEVILLA FC VS Fenerbahçe SKfen.gif

first leg : 2-3

Despite his team’s reputation for instinctive attacking play, Sevilla FC coach Manuel Jiménez believes intelligence is the quality they will need most if they are to come back from 3-2 down to beat Fenerbahçe SK in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League first knockout round decider.

Clever football
Their delight in getting forward earned the Spanish side two valuable away goals a fortnight ago, but it also cost them dearly when substitute Semih Şentürk struck a late winner. Now, with the tie delicately poised and both teams desperate to reach the uncharted waters of the last eight, Jiménez has asked his players to think before they act. “We’ll have to be intelligent because our opponents also want to qualify,” he said. “It’s all very well attacking, however that can rebound on you if you don’t have the intelligence to stop the opposition from counterattacking. We mustn’t give in to euphoria.”

Knockout pedigree
That may sound like caution from the competition newcomers, but they are nothing if not knockout football specialists, having recovered 1-0 first-leg deficits en route to UEFA Cup glory in both 2005/06 and 2006/07 – against LOSC Lille Métropole and CA Osasuna respectively. “If Fenerbahçe are slight favourites because of the scoreline, we certainly don’t feel inferior to them or anyone else,” continued Jiménez. “We all just need to work harder because a draw won’t be enough. If we can go through, it would be important not only for the club but also for the city and Spanish football.”

Deportivo defeat
A record of three wins from three group-stage games at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán ought to feed their confidence, even if Saturday’s 2-1 loss at RC Deportivo La Coruña ended a five-match unbeaten league run. It also dragged the club down to seventh in the Primera División, but in-form striker Luis Fabiano, Diego Capel, Seydou Keita and Adriano will all return after being rested. Centre-backs Ivica Dragutinović and Julien Escudé should be fit again too, with Aquivaldo Mosquera poised to step in if Dragutinović fails to overcome a groin problem.

Roberto Carlos absence
The Fenerbahçe rearguard is already certain to be weakened, on the other hand, as Roberto Carlos is still carrying the leg injury he sustained when the sides met in Istanbul. “He is fundamental for us because of his contribution on and off the pitch,” lamented his coach, Zico. “We can’t think about that, though. We have to go out and fight to the end. We won’t play with a defensive attitude because we don’t know how. I just don’t have the players for that. They can’t give up their attacking instincts.”

Domestic doubts
Cynics might suggest they looked anodyne going forward in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at MKE Ankaragücü, but key men Volkan Demirel, Diego, Gökhan Gönül and Semih Şentürk were all suspended while striker Deivid started on the bench. And that result could even be considered a slight improvement following last week’s Turkish Cup defeat by neighbours Galatasaray AS. “That was a different competition,” said Zico. “We are well-placed in this tie, we’ll give everything and if we don’t qualify, nobody will be able to complain. That will just mean Sevilla were the better team.”

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