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Juve ready to face their 'final'

Published: Wednesday 9 March 2005, 10.03CET
Juventus FC are capable of a come-from-behind victory against Real Madrid CF, says coach Fabio Capello.

Tournament statistics

JuventusReal Madrid

Goals scored9
Attempts on target53
Attempts off target67
Fouls committed222
Yellow cards23
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Published: Wednesday 9 March 2005, 10.03CET

Juve ready to face their 'final'

Juventus FC are capable of a come-from-behind victory against Real Madrid CF, says coach Fabio Capello.

By Paolo Menicucci in Turin

Juventus FC coach Fabio Capello is confident his side can overturn Real Madrid FC's first-leg advantage in their UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie - provided they remain alert to the threat of the Spanish team's counterattacks.

Caution needed
"I have seen Madrid's recent games and they are a completely different side compared to the start of the season," Capello said. "They are better organised and more focused in defence and are extremely dangerous when they break. We have to attack but we have to do it carefully."

'Like a final'
Nevertheless, Capello believes his players are in the right condition to beat the Spaniards, physically and mentally. "I did not need to talk to my players to motivate them, they all know how to approach this kind of game. It is like a final when you play Madrid," said the 58-year-old, who won the Spanish title as Madrid coach in 1996/97.

Nedved concussed
Juventus, though, are still without Pavel Nedved, who is recovering from the concussion he suffered in a clash of heads with Raúl Bravo at the Santiago Bernabéu and has just resumed training. Midfielder Manuele Blasi is suspended and should be replaced by Alessio Tacchinardi.

Zalayeta spearhead
David Trezeguet, meanwhile, is regaining fitness after missing a couple of games with flu. The French forward played only the last eleven minutes of Saturday's 2-1 victory against AS Roma. "David is not ready to play 90 minutes," admitted Capello. The Bianconeri should therefore line up with Uruguayan striker Marcelo Zalayeta in attack alongside Alessandro Del Piero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

'Extremely important'
"This game is extremely important to both clubs," continued Capello. "When you enter the Champions League knockout stage, every game is a like a final and this is exactly how we should play against Real Madrid."

'Great night of football'
Juventus will try to evoke memories of two seasons ago when they overcame a first-leg defeat to overcome Madrid 3-1 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate. Captain Alessandro Del Piero said: "Like then, we have to win and to do it we have to show the same qualities we used two years ago. It will be a great night of football."

Figo undaunted
Luís Figo missed a penalty in Turin two years ago. The Portuguese, however, is ready to take a spot-kick if the opportunity arises this time around. "Why not? I have enough confidence to take a penalty. Juve are a solid and physically strong side and it will be difficult to score against them, but I'm sure we will have chances."

Beckham concern
Madrid are worried about David Beckham's fitness. The England captain was taken off in the second half of Saturday's 1-1 draw with Valencia CF with a back injury but should be available at the Delle Alpi. Another plus is that Michael Owen (stomach bug), Zinedine Zidane (groin) and Raúl González (flu) are all set to play despite skipping the Valencia match.

Scoring record
"I lost a kilo because of the flu but I think I will play from the start even if I don't know how long I will last," said Raúl, who with 49 goals is one short of setting a European Champion Clubs' Cup scoring record. However, Míchel Salgado is still out with a knee injury suffered in the first leg.

'Not scared'
"I expect Juve to play an attacking game but we are not here just to watch them do so," said Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo ahead of his first Champions League trip. "I want a response from my players as a team. We are not scared of Juventus."

Last updated: 09/03/05 15.08CET