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Lyon's Lovren hopes, Ajax's Anita focused

Published: Tuesday 6 December 2011, 18.45CET
AFC Ajax's Vurnon Anita can almost taste the round of 16 but Olympique Lyonnais can still pip them and Dejan Lovren "will be hoping until the final minute" they can sneak second spot.
by Elvir Islamović & Berend Scholten
from Zagreb & Amsterdam
Lyon's Lovren hopes, Ajax's Anita focused
Dejan Lovren speaking at Tuesday's press conference ©Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Tuesday 6 December 2011, 18.45CET

Lyon's Lovren hopes, Ajax's Anita focused

AFC Ajax's Vurnon Anita can almost taste the round of 16 but Olympique Lyonnais can still pip them and Dejan Lovren "will be hoping until the final minute" they can sneak second spot.

AFC Ajax may already have one foot in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 but Olympique Lyonnais maintain hope they can get their noses in front in Group D.

We maintain hope that we can reach the knockout phase – we will be hoping until the final minute
Dejan Lovren
As a team we have to focus on the football itself, that is what we are here for
Vurnon Anita

While Real Madrid CF have long since wrapped up top spot in the section, it is Frank de Boer's team who are in possession of the runners-up berth. Three points clear of Lyon heading into matchday six, Ajax need only draw to go through. They host the Merengues, though, with the Liga leaders looking to become only the fifth team to navigate the group stage with a perfect record.

Rémi Garde's charges, meanwhile, go to GNK Dinamo Zagreb, who are already guaranteed to finish bottom. Victory, defeat for Ajax and a seven-goal turnaround looks like a big ask. "We maintain hope that we can reach the knockout phase – we will be hoping until the final minute," said Lyon defender Dejan Lovren, formerly of Dinamo. "In the meantime, we will try to score as many goals as we can against Dinamo and win the match.

"I will not have any special feelings playing in Zagreb, as I have already played at the same stadium for the national team. I don't think about that and will be focused only on the game – I hope it goes well for us. I don't know what the Dinamo approach will be but they are all professionals. I know many players from Dinamo, we are in contact sometimes, but I hope we will be the winners in Zagreb."

For Ajax, concentration is also key: a loss and they could still qualify, but Vurnon Anita will not countenance his side taking their foot off the pedal. "We are fully focused on tomorrow's match – what we show on the pitch will be the most important thing," said the left-back. "We know that all of Madrid's players are very good so it doesn't matter who plays for them. They will be a strong team no matter what, and we have to be ready for that.

"As a team we have to focus on the football itself, that is what we are here for and that is what we will do. We have a fun squad and always enjoy ourselves. I think that will help us for this match – to be relaxed and then be 100% focused on the pitch."

Last updated: 07/12/11 17.14CET

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