The official website for European football

Deportivo have point to prove

Published: Monday 24 November 2003, 22.00CET
RC Deportivo La Coruña are out to erase the memory of their 8-3 defeat in Monaco when they face AEK Athens FC.

Tournament statistics

DeportivoAEK

Goals scored19
 
1
Attempts on target56
 
20
Attempts off target69
 
33
Corners64
 
22
Offsides32
 
14
Fouls committed182
 
92
Yellow cards18
 
10
Red cards2
 
1

Media Services

 
Published: Monday 24 November 2003, 22.00CET

Deportivo have point to prove

RC Deportivo La Coruña are out to erase the memory of their 8-3 defeat in Monaco when they face AEK Athens FC.

RC Deportivo La Coruña return to UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday when they welcome AEK Athens FC to the Riazor desperate to erase the memory of their Matchday 4 humbling by Group C leaders AS Monaco FC.

'Highly motivated'
Despite conceding eight goals to the French side three weeks ago, Deportivo can secure their place in the knockout stages with victory if Monaco defeat PSV Eindhoven at the Stade Louis II - and coach Javier Irureta intends to make the task in hand clear to his players. "The message I want to give is that if we win we can qualify," he said.

Cool heads
"We know what is at stake, we could mathematically settle our qualification if we win - and we could also go top, so we are all highly motivated." Midfield player Sergio González seemed to have got the message when he said: "We have to go into the game with cool heads and concentrate on playing good football. That is the way to win."

Tsiartas danger
However, cool heads were absent when an 86th-minute leveller from Vassilios Tsiartas prevented Deportivo collecting all three points from the sides' meeting in Athens on Matchday 1 - and Irureta is wary of the threat Tsiartas, a former Sevilla FC player, and his colleagues pose. "AEK are made up of good players," the coach observed. "We all know Tsiartas from his time in Spain, but there are others, such as the two central midfielders and [Theodoris] Zagorakis."

Stalemate in Seville
Since losing in Monaco, Deportivo have claimed a win and a draw from their two last two league matches, including Saturday night's rain-soaked stalemate in Seville with Real Betis Balompié that left them second in the Primera División. Tsiartas hopes that latter match will have taken its toll on Deportivo. "I'm sure some players will pay for that, it didn't seem like a football game at all, it was more like water polo," he said. Mauro Silva, Juan Carlos Valerón and Víctor all suffered muscle strains that night but all are included in the squad.

Bajevic retains hope
AEK themselves have just one point from four matches so far and have only the faintest chance of claiming third place and a UEFA Cup spot. However, their form has improved in the Alpha Ethniki of late with three straight wins and coach Dusan Bajevic said: "We have a lot of reasons to win in La Coruna, first for our honour, secondly we want to continue playing in Europe and we want to qualify for the UEFA Cup and thirdly we have a lot of players from the Greek national side."

Back in blue
So two teams with something to prove. Irureta is so keen to banish thoughts of the defeat in Monaco that he has vowed never again to see his side play in the change kit they wore with such disastrous consequences. "I don't want to see the shirt we wore in Monaco again," he said. "I don't know whose idea it was to wear them in the first place." Back in blue on Tuesday, Irureta will expect better.

Last updated: 24/11/03 23.22CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2003/matches/round=1712/match=1056865/prematch/preview/index.html#deportivo+have+point+prove

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.