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Smuda scents an upset against Udinese

Published: Thursday 19 February 2009, 7.00CET
Self-confessed Italian football fan Franciszek Smuda leads his KKS Lech Poznań side against Udinese Calcio on Thursday hoping it will be third time lucky as he looks to break his European duck versus Serie A opposition.
by Piotr Kozmiński & Roberta Radaelli
Smuda scents an upset against Udinese
Hernán Rengifo (centre) has special motivation to score against Udinese ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

LechUdinese

Goals scored13
 
18
Attempts on target36
 
55
Attempts off target31
 
49
Corners32
 
52
Offsides8
 
32
Fouls committed56
 
105
Yellow cards14
 
30
Red cards0
1

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Published: Thursday 19 February 2009, 7.00CET

Smuda scents an upset against Udinese

Self-confessed Italian football fan Franciszek Smuda leads his KKS Lech Poznań side against Udinese Calcio on Thursday hoping it will be third time lucky as he looks to break his European duck versus Serie A opposition.

Self-confessed Italian football fan Franciszek Smuda leads his KKS Lech Poznań side against Udinese Calcio on Thursday hoping it will be third time lucky as he looks to break his duck versus Serie A opposition.

We like to play as underdogs because sometimes it is much easier
Hernán Rengifo

Reversals
"I have already played against Udinese as Legia Warszawa and Widzew Łódź coach, but in both cases lost," the 60-year-old told uefa.com. In fact, Smuda aided Widzew to a 1-0 home win against Udinese on the Italian club's European debut in 1997/98, only to lose the UEFA Cup first-round tie 3-1 on aggregate. Indeed, all his four previous two-legged encounters with Serie A sides have ended in overall defeats.

Italophile
For Thursday's encounter he has midfielder Sławomir Peszko suspended, and a stadium with capacity reduced to 17,000 due to reconstruction, but Smuda is relishing the encounter. "I love Italy," he said. "I have always watched Italian teams playing and even try to imitate the style of AC Milan. I also like Italian food very much. I spent a marvellous holiday in Sicily once but on Thursday that won't matter at all. I want to beat an Italian side for the first time in my career."

Rengifo hope
Meanwhile, Lech's leading scorer Hernán Rengifo has his own motivation. "I want to score again as I would like to celebrate it in a special way," he said. "I would dedicate the goal to my newborn son, Matias Daniel who was born on 2 January. He is still in Peru with his mother. I miss them a lot and would like to make a special gift for them. Udinese are favourites but we like that. We like to play as underdogs because sometimes it is much easier. "

Confidence
Polish league leaders Lech have been out of competitive action since the December win at Feyenoord that took them through while Udinese have been gradually easing their relegation worries, drawing 1-1 at AC Siena this weekend but most notably defeating Juventus 2-1 late last month. "The win against Juventus gave us more confidence," defender Cristián Zapata said. "Even though we will play the return leg at home we won't hold back and will try to get a good result in Poland, because our objective is to move forward in the competition." Udinese are without defender Damiano Ferronetti due to a knee injury but Aleksandar Luković has recovered from bronchitis and midfielder Gaetano D'Agostino returns following a domestic suspension.

Last updated: 19/02/09 20.52CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2009/matches/round=15286/match=304801/prematch/preview/index.html#smuda+scents+upset+against+udinese

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