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No margin of error for Juve

Published: Tuesday 9 March 2004, 16.10CET
Juventus FC are under no illusions as to the size of their task against RC Deportivo La Coruña tonight.

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Published: Tuesday 9 March 2004, 16.10CET

No margin of error for Juve

Juventus FC are under no illusions as to the size of their task against RC Deportivo La Coruña tonight.

By Paolo Menicucci in Turin

Juventus FC are under no illusions as to the size of their task as they seek to turn around a one-goal deficit against RC Deportivo La Coruña on Tuesday night.

'No excuses'
A 1-0 defeat in Spain a fortnight ago left Juve with little margin for error if they are to progress beyond the UEFA Champions League first knockout round and reach a second consecutive final. Coach Marcello Lippi will accept "no excuses" from his depleted team for failing to keep their campaign alive.

Vital match
"It is too easy to have confidence when everything is going well," Lippi said. "I think it is nice to have a difficult period sometimes because in these moments we have to show that we are able to solve every kind of problem. The match against Deportivo can change our season."

Del Piero motivated
Captain Alessandro Del Piero is also fully aware of the need for a good performance. "We need a perfect game," he said. "Deportivo are a great side but we really want this cup and we are eager to show our pride. We certainly do not need extra motivation and I do not see any reasons for not being optimistic."

Absent players
Lippi is unable to call on David Trezeguet, Gianluca Zambrotta, Alessandro Birindelli, Mark Iuliano, Igor Tudor and Enzo Maresca through injury, while Antonio Conte is suspended. The coach is expected to play Marco Di Vaio alongside Alessandro Del Piero, with Pavel Nedved just behind following his winning goal in Saturday's defeat of Brescia Calcio - a strike which followed a short rest in his native Czech Republic.

Night for champions
"Many players in this squad know the pleasure of reaching the final of this tournament because we have done it more than once in the past and we did it after passing several difficult hurdles like this one," Lippi said. "I hope it will be the night of our big players like Del Piero and Nedved. When these players are in great condition, the team follow them. Deportivo always play really well at home but usually are different when they play away."

Deportivo's task
This is the fourth consecutive year the teams have met in the Champions League, and although Deportivo have yet to win in Turin, they may be comforted to know any of their previous results at the Delle Alpi - a 3-2 defeat last season followed two goalless draws - would be good enough for them to go through on aggregate this time round.

Going for goal
Still, Deportivo coach Javier Irureta knows it will not be easy to hold on to their lead. "The 1-0 we achieved in the first leg makes a small but important difference," he said. "However, we need at least one away goal in order to progress. In the past years we proved that we can score here."

Nedved danger
Igor Tudor's last-gasp winner sealed Juve's win in last year's vital second group stage game, but Irureta knows it is the Italian champions' more usual matchwinners that will be the main threat. "Players like Nedved and Del Piero can always decide a match," Irureta said." I am mostly worried about Nedved's mobility. He can be extremely dangerous."

Settled team
Experienced defender Enrique Romero is the only Deportivo absentee with flu, and Irueta confirmed that his selection would differ little from the team that beat Juve with an Alberto Luque goal. "I believe we played a good match in the first leg and I do not see many reasons for making many changes," the coach said.

Last updated: 09/03/04 12.44CET