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Jovanović urges APOEL to finish on a high

Published: Monday 5 December 2011, 21.45CET
Having already beaten the odds to qualify for the UEFA Champions League round of 16, APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović is looking to "put on a good show" against FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
by John Leonidou
from Nicosia
Published: Monday 5 December 2011, 21.45CET

Jovanović urges APOEL to finish on a high

Having already beaten the odds to qualify for the UEFA Champions League round of 16, APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović is looking to "put on a good show" against FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

APOEL FC may already be through to the round of 16 but coach Ivan Jovanović is determined his side "put on a good show for the fans" with a victory against FC Shakhtar Donetsk that would ensure his side, whom his opposite number Mircea Lucescu admits "did not take seriously" at the outset, qualify as Group G winners.

APOEL FC
Coach Ivan Jovanović
The fact that we have already qualified for the round of 16 is a great triumph for us but we still have great motivation to go out in front of a full house tomorrow and put on a good show for the fans. Our aim is to finish this group campaign in first place. The players want this as well as everybody else connected with the club.

Shakhtar are the most talented team in our group. The fact that they have fewer points than us is down to the fact that they didn't perform well in Europe this season. But it doesn't change anything with regards to the difference in quality between us. They are still a bigger club than us with a superior quality squad. What we have achieved in this group is purely down to the hard work produced by my players.

When entering the group stage, I never believed that we would reach the round of 16. That achievement is a dream come true for us. It just goes to show that in football, you can sometimes get rewarded for all the hard work that you put in. We put in a massive effort and we deservedly sealed our place in the next round. Now we have an even bigger responsibility in the next round to show that we are deservedly there.

Weekend result
Friday: APOEL 2-0 Anagennisis Derynia FC (Solari 16, Charalambides 58)
Pardo; Kaká, Jahić, Alexandrou, Solomou; Pinto (Belaid 46), Nuno Morais (Satsias 68), Marcinho, Charalambides (Oliveira 82), Adorno; Solari

• Esteban Solari, a lone striker with Aílton and Ivan Tričkovski injured, scored his first goal from open play in 11 outings as APOEL claimed their third successive home win. Hélio Pinto and Tijani Belaid also hit the woodwork. It was Solari's 50th league goal in two spells for APOEL who have never lost when he has scored.

Team news
Pinto, like Paulo Jorge a booking from a suspension, went off on Friday with a foot injury. Aílton is resting an ankle problem. Ivan Tričkovski (hamstring) and William Boaventura (sprained ankle) are longer-term absentees.

FC Shakhtar Donetsk
Coach Mircea Lucescu

Nobody could have predicted our campaign would end like this. We had lots of problems this season with injuries and some good players missing and that is the reason we didn't manage to get enough points. Things are not that great for us going into tomorrow's game.

Our season in Europe and at home has not been according to our expectations, but we will try and put things right by getting a positive result tomorrow. Despite our problems, Shakhtar remain a big club and we need to show that on the pitch.

I don't think anybody took APOEL seriously in this group. They proved to be the most professional and disciplined side in this group and they deserve all the points that they have won. With regards to the game tomorrow, we will need to defend well against them, to put pressure on their midfielders and to be more dangerous in attack.

We are aware of our opponents' weaknesses from the first game in Donetsk and we will try to exploit them. Our opponents in this group have been very difficult but I don't believe that we deserved to finish bottom. I believe luck was not on our side in Europe this year.

Weekend result
•  Friday: Shakhtar 5-0 FC Arsenal Kyiv (Srna 13, Douglas Costa 30, Mkhitaryan 58,  Bogdanov og 69, Eduardo 75)
Rybka; Srna, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk; Stepanenko (Hübschman 54), Fernandinho, Douglas Costa (Jadson 70), Mkhitaryan, Willian; Luiz Adriano (Eduardo 61)

• Shakhtar secured their second straight 5-0 win following a 27 November defeat of FC Karpaty Lviv.

Team news
Dmytro Chygrynskiy has not played since rupturing a thigh muscle on 26 October.

Match fact
APOEL are on a nine-game unbeaten home European run going back to a 1-0 loss against FC Porto in 2009/10. They have won six of those matches.

Last updated: 26/09/14 2.20CET

Related information

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007654/prematch/preview/index.html#jovanovic+urges+apoel+finish+high

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