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Van Nistelrooy expects epic in Madrid

Published: Tuesday 11 December 2007, 2.10CET
Ruud van Nistelrooy knows Real Madrid CF "have a great opportunity to advance" as they take on fellow hopefuls S.S. Lazio in a game he expects to be special.
by Paul Bryan
from Madrid
Van Nistelrooy expects epic in Madrid
Ruud van Nistelrooy during Monday's conference ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

Real MadridLazio

Goals scored15
 
8
Attempts on target51
 
44
Attempts off target51
 
17
Corners47
 
22
Offsides33
 
22
Fouls committed141
 
100
Yellow cards17
 
12
Red cards1
 
1

Matches

4 December 2007

D Milan
1-0
Celtic
D Shakhtar
1-2
Benfica

11 December 2007

A Marseille
0-4
Liverpool
A Porto
2-0
Beşiktaş
B Chelsea
0-0
Valencia
B Schalke
3-1
Rosenborg
C Real Madrid
3-1
Lazio
C Olympiacos
3-0
Werder

12 December 2007

E Rangers
0-3
Lyon
E Barcelona
3-1
Stuttgart
F Roma
1-1
Man. United
F Sporting
3-0
Dynamo
G PSV
0-1
Internazionale
G Fenerbahçe
3-1
CSKA Moskva
H Arsenal
2-1
Steaua
H Slavia Praha
0-3
Sevilla
 
Published: Tuesday 11 December 2007, 2.10CET

Van Nistelrooy expects epic in Madrid

Ruud van Nistelrooy knows Real Madrid CF "have a great opportunity to advance" as they take on fellow hopefuls S.S. Lazio in a game he expects to be special.

With possibilities for both teams to advance to the knockout stage, Ruud van Nistelrooy is expecting Real Madrid CF's UEFA Champions League Group C meeting with S.S. Lazio at the Santiago Bernabéu to mirror a final. A draw would be enough for the nine-time winners while their visitors from Italy need to win by two goals to keep destiny in their own hands.

Great opportunity
Van Nistelrooy scored twice when these sides drew 2-2 in Rome on 3 October, and feels anything is possible when they renew ties on Tuesday. "It will be a very special game, much like a final," said the 31-year-old. "It will be one of those matches where anything can happen. We have to try to play as we always do, with a lot of confidence and above all with enthusiasm. We have a great opportunity to advance."

No celebration
The former Manchester United FC forward drove in a long-range winner at Athletic Club Bilbao on Saturday, his seventh league goal in 12 outings this season, to strengthen Madrid's position at the top of the Primera División and later limped off with what appeared to be a calf problem. "I'll train normally and will be ready," he said, before explaining why he did not celebrate his weekend strike. "When I scored I just stayed there, in the same position. I felt emotional as always. The same thing happened to me last year in Bilbao. To be honest, I just don't have a special celebration."

Quality team
With 53 goals in 66 UEFA Champions League appearances, Van Nistelrooy will certainly have to be watched by the visiting defenders. "Lazio are a very physical side at the back, and up front they have a lot of quality with Goran Pandev and Tommaso Rocchi," the Dutch international said. "They are a strong team whose players play for each other. I remember in our last game against them, they had a few chances to win the match. There's no doubt we'll have to play well on Tuesday."

Ballotta praise
Asked what he thought about facing Lazio's 43-year-old goalkeeper Marco Ballotta, Van Nistelrooy responded: "I have a lot of respect for him. I'm sure I won't last to the same level when I'm 43. He's an example for everyone."

Last updated: 11/12/07 21.10CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2008/matches/round=15105/match=301251/prematch/focus/index.html#van+nistelrooy+expects+epic+madrid

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