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Second chance for group leaders

Published: Wednesday 30 October 2002, 5.42CET
Valencia CF, Arsenal FC and Real Madrid CF have another chance to progress to the second group stage.

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Published: Wednesday 30 October 2002, 5.42CET

Second chance for group leaders

Valencia CF, Arsenal FC and Real Madrid CF have another chance to progress to the second group stage.

Real Madrid CF, Arsenal FC and Valencia CF all have second chances to secure their progress to the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League tonight after wasting the opportunity last week.

Holders let victory slip
Holders Madrid meet AS Roma having let a two-goal lead turn into a 2-2 draw at home to AEK Athens on Matchday Four when victory would have secured their progression. Tonight, Vincente del Bosque's side, fortified by the return from injury of Raúl González, will be looking to finish the job at the Santiago Bernabéu. However, Roma coach Fabio Capello returns to his old club knowing a win coupled with a AEK defeat by KRC Genk would see his side qualify.

Arsenal beaten
Arsenal, needing a point against Auxerre last week to progress from Group A, were beaten 2-1. It was their first loss and first goals conceded but they have another chance when they visit BV Borussia Dortmund. Dennis Bergkamp has not travelled with Arsenal who will be looking to Thierry Henry to break his five-game goal drought. However, defender Jörg Heinrich returns for Dortmund who have not lost at home in the Champions League in six matches.

Last-gasp equaliser
Valencia were denied the victory that would have secured their qualification by a last-minute FC Basel equaliser last week. The Spanish champions and Group B leaders now travel to Liverpool FC needing one more point.

Ayala suspended
They are without suspended Argentinian defender Roberto Ayala but welcome back Ayala's compatriot Pablo Aimar from injury. Aimar is straight back on form too, having scored a hat-trick against Athletic Club Bilbao on Saturday. Emile Heskey and Steven Gerrard hope to return from injuries for Liverpool who know a win would put them on the brink of the second round. The group's other game, between FC Spartak Moskva and Basel, has been postponed until next week.

Lyon look for breathing space
Olympique Lyonnais could escape the claustrophobic Group D with a victory over AFC Ajax that would put them out of the reach of the Dutch champions and Internazionale FC. Striker Sidney Govou and goalkeeper Grégory Coupet return from injury for the French club. Such is the proximity of the teams in Group D, however, that any of the top three clubs could lose tonight yet still qualify.

Victories essential
Meanwhile, Genk, PSV Eindhoven and Rosenborg BK all need wins to keep their waning challenges alive. Genk, who prop up Group C with only two points, must find the net for the first time in the competition because only a win can save them from elimination. However, even that would not be enough should Roma beat Madrid.

Win could be in vain
PSV, who also have two points, face AJ Auxerre in Group A knowing even a win would be in vain if Dortmund beat Arsenal. In Group D Rosenborg have three points but, given how tight the section is, they could put themselves back in contention with victory over Inter at the San Siro.

Last updated: 30/10/02 21.47CET

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