Sevilla FC are hoping an upcoming derby match will not distract them as they take on FC Zenit St. Petersburg in the first leg of their UEFA Cup quarter-final.
The Andalusian club, fifth in the Primera División, visit Real Betis Balompié at the weekend and could move into UEFA Champions League contention for next season with a win, following Sunday's 1-0 success against another team competing for a top-four finish, Valencia CF. However, for striker Javier Saviola, concentration is key. "If we do not concentrate on the Zenit game, it could turn into an awful night for us," said the Argentinian international. "Now is the time to see how strong we are. We've had successive wins against [Club] Atlético [de Madrid] and Valencia and if we have a good week, the team will get stronger. The higher we reach, the more we will grow."
Defender Javi Navarro was concerned that derby fever could lessen the impact of Sevilla's first UEFA Cup quarter-final appearance, saying: "We want focus on Zenit and we don't want to talk about the derby. The UEFA Cup is very important to us and we can't let our attention wander." With right-sided players Daniel and Jesús Navas suspended, coach Juande Ramos is likely to plug the gaps with José Luis Martí and Fernando Sales. He is also without Ariza Makukula (knee), Ivica Dragutinović (knee) and Aitor Ocio (ankle). Enzo Maresca could be rested despite overcoming an achilles problem.
Zenit coach Vlastimil Petržela has fewer worries, although No1 goalkeeper Kamil Čontofalský has not travelled to Spain as he continues to receive treatment for an injured shoulder. Petržela was an interested spectator at Sevilla's game against Valencia. "I cannot say I enjoyed the match," said the Czech, a former AC Sparta Praha coach. "It should have been a goalless draw, but Sevilla were better in attack after the visitors had Roberto Ayala sent off. Renato, Jordi López, Navas and Saviola were the most impressive players." In Petržela's absence, Zenit won 3-1 at FC Amkar Perm in the Russian Premier-Liga on Sunday.
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