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ACF Fiorentina striker Alberto Gilardino has vowed to fight through the pain barrier to help his side reach the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League as they prepare to host Group E leaders Olympique Lyonnais knowing victory would take them through at Liverpool FC's expense.
Gilardino suffered a knock to his knee after scoring twice in Saturday's 3-2 loss to his former side Parma FC, a game that ended the Viola's three game-winning run. With Stevan Jovetić unlikely to start and Adrian Mutu missing through injury, the Italian international's presence up front will be crucial if Fiorentina are to advance to the last 16 for the first time in a decade. "Physically I'm fine," he said. "I picked up a small injury during the last match, but like my team-mates I really want to play because it's very important. I'll do my best but I need the help of my team-mates. If we all give everything, we can get a positive result."
'Determined to win'
Fiorentina are the competition's joint highest scorers with Real Madrid CF on eleven goals, and Gilardino contributed to that total courtesy of a strike apiece in comfortable home-and-away wins over Debreceni VSC. Lyon are likely to be a different proposition, however, having already qualified this time around in addition to having beaten the Viola to seal their progress at the Italian outfit's expense last season. They also ran out 1-0 victors in France on Matchday 1, a match in which Gilardino was sent off. "We are not looking for revenge but we're determined to win this game," the 27-year-old said. "We can't wait to play and we will do our best to get the right result. I hope a lot of people will come to the stadium because we really need the help of our supporters to win this difficult match."
In the opposition camp, Lyon defender Cris has insisted that Lyon's previous triumphs over the hosts will have no influence on Tuesday's encounter. "This match is completely different to the ones in the past," he said. "We have come to Florence to win." His side were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom club Grenoble Foot 38 on Saturday, but Cris is confident that their Ligue 1 frustrations will not be a factor either. "We've been more focused on the Champions League than our domestic championship, so I don't think it's a problem if Fiorentina have a strong attack or if our defence has conceded a few goals in the league," he explained. "We have had some problems with the number of players we have available and our difficulties in the league are strongly connected to that."
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