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Mental strength key for Strasbourg

Published: Wednesday 15 March 2006, 19.08CET
A weakened RC Strasbourg side will be relying on mental strength as they aim to overturn a two-goal UEFA Cup deficit against FC Basel 1893.
Published: Wednesday 15 March 2006, 19.08CET

Mental strength key for Strasbourg

A weakened RC Strasbourg side will be relying on mental strength as they aim to overturn a two-goal UEFA Cup deficit against FC Basel 1893.

Relegation-threatened RC Strasbourg will use their UEFA Cup tie against FC Basel 1893 as a welcome break from Ligue 1 troubles, even if they enter the home leg trailing 2-0.

Rested stars
Zdravko Kuzmanovic's 89th-minute goal in Switzerland last week gives Basel a distinct edge over their French opponents, yet despite the size of their task, Strasbourg will not be selecting their strongest team. Coach Jacky Duguépéroux will rest full-backs Ahmed Abou Moslem and Guillaume Lacour, as well as in-form striker Amara Diané, with one eye on Sunday's crucial league visit to AS Saint-Etienne.

Mental strength
"Once again for a UEFA Cup game, I will have to rely on the mental strength of my side," said Duguépéroux. "My players have been quite unpredictable in this competition and now it's time to prove it again. I know they will give their best to pull off what would be a great achievement, if we were to reach the quarter-finals."

Confidence boost
Basel's main objective at La Meinau stadium will be to remain solid defensively. The first-leg goals from Matías Delgado and Kuzmanovic secured a platform on which to progress to the last eight, and morale was boosted further by a 2-1 victory against Grasshopper-Club.

Basel buoyed
"Sunday's win has given us a lot of confidence and we are optimistic we can advance to the quarter-finals," said defender Bruno Berner. Basel will be missing several players, however, with Mikhail Kavelashvili and Koji Nakata ineligible, and Murat Yakin, Scott Chipperfield, César Carignano and Alexandre Quennoz all injured.

Last updated: 16/03/06 21.34CET

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