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APOEL told to rise to the occasion

Published: Wednesday 26 August 2009, 8.45CET
APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović has urged his players to "believe in themselves" as they bid to turn around a 1-0 deficit at home to FC København in their UEFA Champions League play-off second leg.
APOEL told to rise to the occasion
København's Atiba Hutchinson challenges Altin Haxhi of APOEL in the first leg in Denmark ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

APOELKøbenhavn

Goals scored10
 
17
Attempts on target57
 
80
Attempts off target8
 
10
Corners24
 
28
Offsides20
 
8
Fouls committed98
 
73
Yellow cards13
 
6
Red cards2
 
0
 
Published: Wednesday 26 August 2009, 8.45CET

APOEL told to rise to the occasion

APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović has urged his players to "believe in themselves" as they bid to turn around a 1-0 deficit at home to FC København in their UEFA Champions League play-off second leg.

APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović has told his players to "believe in themselves" and seize an "historic" opportunity as they bid to turn around a 1-0 first-leg deficit at home against UEFA Champions League play-off rivals FC København.

Quotes
Ivan Jovanović, APOEL coach
This is a unique game in all aspects. We have the chance to seal a historic place in the group stage of the Champions League. What is most important is that the players aren't overwhelmed by the occasion. They need to be focused against such a good opponent and believe in themselves. The [København] coach was right about our style of play in the first game. We did sit back and we are not used to just sitting back. Now we will need to go forward and we have shown in the past that we can get a result when we play our game. I'm sure we will be better and even stronger with our fans behind us.

Ståle Solbakken, København coach
We know we have a tough battle on our hands tomorrow. We are facing a team who need to score so they will have to attack us. My players are in the right frame of mind and are really looking forward to the occasion. We don't fear APOEL. There is a big difference between fearing a team and respecting a team. We know they can be a strong team and that they put two past [FK] Partizan [winning 2-0 here in the previous round]. But we also know that we have players that can punish them because they will have to come forward.

Key stats
• History is not on APOEL's side as they bid to turn around their 1-0 first-leg deficit. The Cypriot titleholders have come back only once on the 21 previous occasions when they lost the first leg of a European tie. Trailing to Zdeněk Pospěch's solitary strike in the first game, APOEL must win by two clear goals to reach the group stage for the first time.

• The one time APOEL recovered a first-leg deficit (in 21 attempts) was in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round against NK Maribor when, 2-1 down after the opener, they bounced back with a 4-2 home success.

• This season's results included, APOEL have won five and lost just one of their last eight home matches in the UEFA Champions League.

• København have won their last eight ties in which they led after the first leg – although they did slip up spectacularly in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round when they lost 5-0 at home to NK Gorica after a 2-1 away win. Midfielder Hjalte Nørregaard is the only survivor of that traumatic defeat in the FCK squad.

How they reached the play-offs
• APOEL secured a surprise 2-1 aggregate success against Partizan in the third qualifying round. After a 2-0 home victory via goals from Nenad Mirosavljević and Marcin Żewłakow, Jovanović's men limited the Serbian titleholders to a single-goal victory in Belgrade. They had earlier defeated Faroese side EB/Streymur 5-0 on aggregate in the second qualifying round.

• København swept aside Montenegro's FK Mogren 12-0 on aggregate in the second qualifying round before a more closely contested tie against Stabæk IF. The Danish champions won 3-1 in Copenhagen – Jesper Grønkjær and Cesar Santin the scorers – before holding on for a goalless draw in Norway.

Team news
København
Out: none
Doubtful: César Santin (ankle), Jesper Grønkjær (unspecified)
Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked: Mikael Antonsson, Thomas Kristensen, Saban Özdogan, Mathias Zanka Jørgensen

APOEL
Out: none
Suspended: Altin Haxhi
Misses next match if booked: Nektarios Alexandrou, Boban Grnčarov, Marinos Satsias, Marcin Żewłakow

Weekend results
APOEL (no competitive fixture)

22/08/09 FC Midtjylland 1-4 København (Danish Superligaen)
(Olsen 29; Jorgensen 7 85, N'Doye 20, Vingaard 73)

Did you know?
København's sole appearance in the group stage came in 2006/07 when they overcame Myllykosken Pallo-47 and AFC Ajax in successive qualifying rounds. Those triumphs are in stark contrast to a trend that has brought the Danish side defeats at the qualifying stage on four occasions (2001/02, 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2007/08).

Last updated: 26/08/09 21.11CET

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