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Vibrant Metalist clear about Sporting challenge

Published: Wednesday 4 April 2012, 19.58CET
Myron Markevich has given FC Metalist Kharkiv simple instructions against Sporting Clube de Portugal – score and do not concede – as they seek a first European semi-final.
by Viktor Sharafudinov
from Metalist Stadium
Vibrant Metalist clear about Sporting challenge
Milan Obradović (right) will play in a makeshift Metalist central defence ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics

MetalistSporting

Goals scored27
 
20
Attempts on target70
 
64
Attempts off target59
 
62
Corners60
 
66
Offsides14
 
19
Fouls committed205
 
206
Yellow cards33
 
34
Red cards2
 
1

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Published: Wednesday 4 April 2012, 19.58CET

Vibrant Metalist clear about Sporting challenge

Myron Markevich has given FC Metalist Kharkiv simple instructions against Sporting Clube de Portugal – score and do not concede – as they seek a first European semi-final.

The eventual outcome is clouded by uncertainty but what is evident for FC Metalist Kharkiv coach Myron Markevich is what his side must do to achieve a historic berth in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

The Ukrainian club are competing in the last eight of a European competition for the first time and Cleiton Xavier's 91st-minute penalty in last week's 2-1 first-leg loss at Sporting Clube de Portugal means a 1-0 win would send them through on Thursday.

"Everything is clear," said Markevich, whose side were held 1-1 at home on Sunday by FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih. "We simply need to score and [keep] a clean sheet." Sporting's task, it might be said, is clearer still – to avoid defeat – though Markevich insists the tie is firmly in the balance. "Before the Lisbon match I said that Metalist and Sporting had an equal chance of progressing and in spite of our defeat my opinion has not changed."  

Metalist must cope without the injured Fininho and are further handicapped by suspensions to first-choice central defenders Papa Gueye and Marco Torsiglieri, who collected costly third yellow cards at the Estádio José Alvalade.

Andriy Berezovchuk will join Milan Obradović in a makeshift defensive pairing. They have played together in the past and Berezovchuk believes Metalist will deal better with Sporting's threat second time round. "We've analysed all the mistakes we made in Portugal and now we know how to neutralise Sporting's strengths," he said. "After winning the ball they counterattack very quickly, so we need to deny them space."

Sporting, who warmed up for the second leg with a 1-0 victory at UD Leiria, have won just one of their last nine European away games. Though a draw will do, Ricardo Sá Pinto is setting his team out to play only one way. "A 0-0 draw is not what we want to achieve here," said the coach, who will be without the banned Daniel Carriço. "Our goals are to score and to win."

Diego Capel, who set up the Lions' opener last week, added: "I don't think our 2-1 win has given us [any] serious advantage. It's easy to lose it, so we need to be at our best. It's not a good idea to keep thinking about the first leg."

For Metalist, attack may prove the best form of defence – they are the competition's leading scorers with 26 goals – and Markevich hopes they will produce a confident display in the final third. "I've prepared my players to be aggressive and proactive in their attacking play." The instruction, like the objective, is clear; achieving it may be less straightforward.

Last updated: 05/04/12 12.35CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000275/match=2007474/prematch/preview/index.html#metalist+sporting+task

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