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Holders rely on head start

Published: Wednesday 7 April 2004, 6.13CET
AC Milan and FC Porto have leads to defend as the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals conclude. features

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Published: Wednesday 7 April 2004, 6.13CET

Holders rely on head start

AC Milan and FC Porto have leads to defend as the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals conclude.

The holders of the two major European club competitions will both travel tonight for the second legs of the remaining UEFA Champions League quarter-finals hoping to hold on to well-earned leads.

Holders lead
Defending European champions AC Milan beat RC Deportivo La Coruña 4-1 in their home leg, while UEFA Cup holders FC Porto go to Olympique Lyonnais with a 2-0 advantage. But Deportivo and Lyon will be well aware that AS Monaco FC trailed Real Madrid CF 4-2 before coming back last night to earn a last-four place against Chelsea FC - who themselves did it the hard way at Arsenal FC.

Deportivo task
That said, no side has ever overturned a three-goal first-leg deficit in Champions League history, and Deportivo - who lost their two previous home meetings with Milan - are up against a side unbeaten in 12 domestic and European outings. Deportivo's recent mixed form, meanwhile, has seen them lose touch with Madrid and Valencia CF at the top of the Primera División.

Nesta returns
Deportivo will field a side unchanged other than for the likely replacement of Lionel Scaloni at right-back by Manuel Pablo. Milan, meanwhile, welcome Alessandro Nesta back from injury, meaning Alessandro Costacurta is expected to give way in central defence.

Lyon hope
Lyon aim to match the feat of French title rivals Monaco last night but they will have to do it without the injured trio of Sidney Govou, Claudio Caçapa and Eric Carrière. However, playmaker Juninho Pernambucano has overcome an ear infection.

Mourinho warns Porto
Porto must beware Lyon matching their UEFA Cup third-round comeback of two years ago, when they lost 4-1 at Club Brugge KV only to advance on away goals after a 3-0 win at the Stade Gerland. Visiting coach José Mourinho has Benni McCarthy and Maniche in his squad despite recent injury problems, but warned: "We must not get complacent as football history is full of wonderful comebacks."

Comprehensive coverage
Away goals will come into effect should ties finish level on aggregate after 90 minutes, with silver-goal extra time and penalties following if necessary. As ever will bring you all the action live, with text and audio commentaries, and our comprehensive coverage also includes video highlights and complete full-match reruns.

Suspended players:

Will miss next game if booked:
José Amavisca, Diego Tristán, Héctor Berenguel, Mauro Silva, Nourredine Naybet, Lionel Scaloni (Deportivo); Massimo Ambrosini, Cafu, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo (Milan); Florent Malouda, Anthony Réveillère (Lyon); Bosingwa, Costinha, Maniche, Ricardo Fernandes (Porto).

Last updated: 07/04/04 22.14CET

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