Two of European football's serial winners have it all to do tonight as eight teams chase places in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Juventus FC and Manchester United FC both enter their first knockout round second-leg ties needing to overturn deficits.
'Night of our big players'
Juventus welcome RC Deportivo La Coruña to Turin trailing 1-0 while United are 2-1 behind against Porto. For the former two sides, this is their eighth meeting in the last four seasons and the Italian champions have won just one of these encounters, 3-2 at the Delle Alpi last term. However, Deportivo have lost their last two matches and the Bianconeri coach, Marcello Lippi, said: "
I hope it will be the night of our big players like [Alessandro] Del Piero and [Pavel] Nedved."
United, meanwhile, are looking to maintain a record of having reached at least the last eight of the Champions League in every season since 1997. To do so, they will have to cope with the absence of suspended captain Roy Keane, and also contain the in-form Benni McCarthy, scorer of six goals in his last four games, including two in the first leg. "By scoring an away goal in Portugal we may have given ourselves some advantage," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Elsewhere, VfB Stuttgart's record of having lost on their three previous trips to England does not augur well for their match at Chelsea FC. The London club won 1-0 in Germany but Stuttgart coach Felix Magath has not given up hope. "
Our strength is back and we are in good spirits," said Magath, whose side beat BV Borussia Dortmund last weekend for their first win in six attempts.
Olympique Lyonnais start as favourites in the night's fourth tie. They defeated Real Sociedad de Fútbol 1-0 in San Sebastian a fortnight ago, and the Spaniards visit France without a win in six games. With this in mind, coach Raynald Denoueix believes the first goal at the Stade Gerland will be crucial. "We will hope to get an early goal and then there is everything to play for," he said.
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