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Despite suffering a 2-1 loss at Sevilla FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC defender Pascal Chimbonda feels the Londoners have what it takes to progress to the last four of the UEFA Cup when the two rivals resume their quarter-final contest at White Hart Lane next Thursday.
'Important away goal'
Robbie Keane stunned the locals with a goal after just 68 seconds, and although former Tottenham striker Frédéric Kanouté and Russian marksman Aleksandr Kerzhakov then swung the game in the holders' favour, Chimbonda believes his team-mates will have the final word. "We got an important away goal and we're very strong at home, so we definitely feel we can win the next game," he told uefa.com. "The ball's in our court now and it's up to us to be at our best in the return match."
Further proof of the growing understanding between Keane and Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov, Tottenham's early strike left Sevilla reeling, but for their 28-year-old France international it simply reflected the Premiership outfit's ability to unlock any defence. "I wasn't surprised we scored so quickly because we have a lot of quality and we're able to make things happen," he pointed out. "Overall, we're disappointed with the result, having made such a great start."
Chimbonda was not overly dazzled by the UEFA Cup holders, saying: "We knew they were good on the ball, but I can't say I was particularly impressed with them." The match turned on the decision to award Sevilla a penalty after visiting goalkeeper Paul Robinson was penalised for impeding Adriano Correia. That gave Kanouté a chance to register a goal against his old club, and Kerzhakov then exploited slack marking to nod in on 36 minutes.
Such lapses were perhaps inevitable, given Tottenham had to field their preferred right-back in a central berth, and their fans will be delighted to hear Ledley King ought to be fit for the second leg. Should the England stopper fail to recover in time, though, Chimbonda says he would gladly fill in again. "When you play football, you have to be flexible," he explained. "It's important for me to be able to fulfil a number of roles - well, at least in defence."
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