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Jovanović: APOEL need perfection against Madrid

Published: Monday 26 March 2012, 21.40CET
"The perfect game may not be enough," said APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović ahead of hosting a Real Madrid CF side whose coach José Mourinho anticipates a "hard" night in Cyprus.
by John Leonidou
from Nicosia
Jovanović: APOEL need perfection against Madrid
Ivan Jovanović (APOEL FC) ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics

APOELReal Madrid

Goals scored9
 
35
Attempts on target25
 
99
Attempts off target21
 
82
Corners27
 
63
Offsides28
 
50
Fouls committed147
 
138
Yellow cards27
 
24
Red cards1
 
1
 
Published: Monday 26 March 2012, 21.40CET

Jovanović: APOEL need perfection against Madrid

"The perfect game may not be enough," said APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović ahead of hosting a Real Madrid CF side whose coach José Mourinho anticipates a "hard" night in Cyprus.

"The perfect game may not be enough," admitted APOEL FC coach Ivan Jovanović as the first Cypriot club to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals welcome a Real Madrid CF side whose coach José Mourinho spelled out his admiration for the hosts' collective effort in getting this far.

Real are obviously not the kind of team that have something to learn from APOEL
Ivan Jovanović
You only need to look at the teams that are out because of APOEL such as Porto, Lyon and Shakhtar
José Mourinho, Madrid coach

APOEL
Coach Ivan Jovanović
Of course, we know that we have to have the perfect game against Real. But unlike the other games, the perfect game may not be enough. We are the ones who can learn from Real. Real are obviously not the kind of team that have something to learn from APOEL.

We expect a difficult game and we need to perform to our full potential and to play good football much like we have done throughout our campaign in Europe. You could say that this match is unique for a club like APOEL. Real are one of the greatest teams in the world and perhaps this encounter is a good chance for us to see how we can fare playing against such a massive club. The differences between the two sides are the name and the strength of the clubs. Real want to lift the Champions League trophy. We know how strong they are and how much superiority they have over us. We need to stay focused, determined and confident and to play good football tomorrow. We need to show that we deserve to be playing at this level.

Weekend result
Friday: APOEL FC 0-0 AC Omonia
Chiotis; Paulo Jorge, Oliveira, Poursaitides, Boaventura (Alexandrou 78); Morais, Pinto, Marcinho, Charalambides (Tričkovski 67), Manduca (Solari 75); Aílton.

• APOEL were held despite playing the second half against ten men after Efstathios Aloneftis was sent off at a sold-out GSP Stadium. Jovanović's team are third in the Cypriot top flight as it splits into three groups of four (the bottom two are relegated immediately). They will now play round-robin fixtures against the rest of the top four – AEL Limassol FC, Omonia and Anorthosis Famagusta FC – for the title.

Team news
Gustavo Manduca serves a one-game ban in theisfirst leg, and goalkeeper Panos Constantinou will also be unavailable after undergoing knee surgery on 20 March after damaging ligaments in training.

Real Madrid
Coach José Mourinho
Of course we can learn something from a team like APOEL and it is something which isn't a secret. They have shown that the power of a group is more important that the quality of an individual player. They are a team that fight for each other, a team that give everything on the pitch and believe that anything is possible in football. We respect them a lot and we feel that they deserve to be here. You only need to look at the teams that are out because of APOEL such as Porto, Lyon and Shakhtar.

We are the favourites, that is undeniable, and the two sides cannot be compared when it comes to finance and history but football is football. We have studied them well and we respect them. APOEL are a balanced unit and although some may feel that that is not important, I certainly do. We know this game will be hard but we expect the return leg to go smoother for us. To win tomorrow would give us a good advantage but it will be difficult to put the tie beyond doubt in the first leg.

Weekend result
Saturday: Real Madrid CF 5-1 Real Sociedad de Fútbol (Higuaín 6, Ronaldo 32 56, Benzema 40
49; Prieto 41)
Casillas; Arbeloa, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Khedira (Şahin 77), Alonso; Benzema (Coentrão 77), Kaká, Ronaldo (Jesé 81); Higuaín.

• Despite the suspensions of Pepe, Mesut Özil and Lassana Diarra, and the touchline ban for Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo's 100th and 101st Liga goals helped Madrid return to winning ways after back-to-back draws. They are now 14 games unbeaten, winning ten of them, since their 2-1 Copa del Rey defeat by FC Barcelona on 18 January.

Team news
Xabi Alonso serves a one-game suspension while Lassana Diarra will miss out having complained of a hamstring strain in his right leg on Sunday. Madrid's injury list also includes José Callejón (ankle), Ricardo Carvalho (thigh), and Ángel Di María (thigh), although Fábio Coentrão and Hamit Altıntop have both featured as substitutes in recent weeks after recovering from groin and calf problems respectively.

Match fact
APOEL have won five of their seven home games in a campaign which started for them back in the second qualifying round, although they now face a Madrid team who have recorded seven victories in eight outings in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League.

Last updated: 26/03/12 23.40CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000265/match=2007681/prematch/preview/index.html#apoel+need+perfect+night

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