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Koné convinced of Sevilla pedigree

Published: Thursday 13 December 2007, 16.00CET
Arouna Koné told uefa.com Sevilla FC should "be counted as one of the favourites" after a 3-0 win at SK Slavia Praha saw his side take first place in Group H.
by Gavin Jackson
from Prague

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Published: Thursday 13 December 2007, 16.00CET

Koné convinced of Sevilla pedigree

Arouna Koné told uefa.com Sevilla FC should "be counted as one of the favourites" after a 3-0 win at SK Slavia Praha saw his side take first place in Group H.

Sevilla FC striker Arouna Koné told uefa.com his team have what it takes to win the UEFA Champions League after they beat SK Slavia Praha 3-0 to claim a fifth successive Group H victory and cruise into the last 16.

'Among the favourites'
"I think we have to be counted among the favourites for the competition, because there are not a lot of sides that have recorded five victories to qualify," said Koné, whose team's feat was only emulated by fellow group winners Manchester United FC and FC Internazionale Milano. "So it's fair to say we are among the favourites and we're going to do everything we can to go as far as possible."

Toiled fruitlessly
Making his first start in this season's competition, Koné toiled fruitlessly for almost an hour in chilly Prague as stubborn Slavia, who had already sealed their progress to the UEFA Cup, seemed poised to give Arsenal FC the chance to pip Sevilla to first place. Slavia's Milan Ivana even rattled a post in an even contest before Koné made way for Sevilla's top scorer Luis Fabiano. The Brazilian promptly broke the deadlock before supplying Frédéric Kanouté and Daniel Alves to complete an impressive cameo.

'Helps the team'
"I think there are times like that when everything goes for you, and I think he's enjoying one of those moments right now," said the 24-year-old Koné of his team-mate, who has three goals from his last two outings. "If it helps the team, then great. He scored the first goal and after that there was a lot more space which allowed us to score two more."

Stark contrast
The UEFA Cup holders' imperious displays in Europe are in stark contrast to their spluttering form in Spain, where they have won just six of 15 Primera División matches. Koné, however, believes the UEFA Champions League holds the key to Sevilla mounting a domestic revival. "There is a difficult period that every team has to go through, and it seems it's our turn to go through that in the Primera División," said the Ivory Coast international. "I'm sure the good results we've had in the Champions League will serve as motivation for us to work harder and move up the table."

Last updated: 13/12/07 19.12CET

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