Deportivo, Juventus set to clash

Deportivo La Coruna coach has called on his side to rediscover their cutting edge ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash against Juventus.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Deportivo La Coruna coach Javier Irureta has called on his side to rediscover their cutting edge ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash against Juventus in Turin. Saturday's 3-0 Primera Liga defeat to Valencia means Deportivo's only chance of silverware this season is in the Champions League and they take a slender 1-0 lead to their second round, second leg game at the Stadio Delle Alpi. Irureta was cautious when he spoke to the press on Monday but he did suggest that Deportivo's narrow advantage did put some pressure on the Italian club. "Both teams need to win, that's clear. But I think we start with a little advantage, the 1-0 we scored on the first leg. It's only a little difference and I would not dare to say that I feel safer for it. But still it is important, because Juventus now need to score at least twice. So I think our aim here is to score a goal, to score a goal in Turin," said the Deportivo coach. Irureta admitted he was pleased Juventus would be without the injured French international David Trezeguet. But the Deportivo coach said they still posed a serious threat to his side's European ambitions. "What worries me is Nedved, for his mobility, and Del Piero. I do not know if he is in good shape now, but they are both excellent players who can decide a match. And then we have to pay attention to Di Vaio, a very quick one too. Summing up, I would say that Juventus has always been able to take advantage of the chances they are offered and that the players are excellent," said Irureta. Irureta rested winger Victor Sanchez and Moroccan central defender Nourredine Naybet for the trip to Valencia, but they are both back in his squad to face the Italian, along with strikers Diego Tristan, Albert Luque and Walter Pandiani. For Juventus coach Marcello Lippi, whilst Deportivo provided an almighty obstacle in Spain, he hoped things would be different when they played in an alien environment. "I am aware that Deportivo is a good team. But there are also other factors to consider, factors on which we can base our optimism. For instance, it was very difficult for us at La Coruna, very difficult, because Deportivo defenders are the best in the Spanish Liga, but we also know that they don't play so well when they play away," said Lippi. One of the men the Spaniards fear the most is Juve striker Alessandro Del Piero. Del Piero emphasised that Juve's home advantage could make all the difference on Tuesday - but the performance had to be much improved from the encounter in Spain. "We'll try to push harder than in the first leg. Of course we know that playing home at times can change the situation, for both teams. I think this time we should be quicker, more determined, more complete, pay more attention. We are aware we need to play an almost perfect match," said Del Piero. A Spanish team has failed to win at the Delle Alpi in the last 20 encounters against Juventus and that will be a positive sign for the club from Turin. But Juve are well aware that they cannot underestimate Javier Irureta's team, which dominated the first leg for long spells and was unlucky not to win by more than a single-goal margin. (AP)