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Depor flyers face Morientes threat

RC Deportivo La Coruña welcome high-scoring AS Monaco FC and their Spanish striker Fernando Morientes.

Aiming for the top
Deportivo's 2-0 win at FC Barcelona on Saturday meant they have won six of their opening seven Primera División matches. This coming weekend they can go top if they beat leaders Valencia CF but first they have the opportunity to overtake Monaco at the top of Group C. Deportivo are presently two points behind Monaco, who have won their opening two games in the competition, while third-placed AEK Athens FC have just a single point.

'Important step'
Irureta said: "If we win then we will have seven points and although things would still to an extent depend on what happens in the game in Greece [where AEK face bottom side PSV Eindhoven] and it would not be definitive, I think winning tomorrow would be a very important step forward." Irureta must plan without midfield player Mauro Silva, who damaged his right calf muscle at Camp Nou. His place is expected to go to Aldo Duscher.

Striker in form
Monaco, like Deportivo, have started the season impressively. They sit top of Ligue 1 despite dropping two points in Saturday's 1-1 home draw with AJ Auxerre. Only Real Madrid CF have scored more than their six goals in the Champions League so far and in Fernando Morientes they have a striker in form.

Old faces
The Spanish international, who is on loan from Madrid, has scored three times already in the Champions League and will look to repeat the feat against a team he knows only too well. Besides his colleagues in the Spain national team, the Deportivo squad includes his former team-mates from the Santiago Bernabéu, Pedro Munitis, Víctor Sánchez and José Amavisca.

Nothing to fear
Monaco have never won in Spain where their four previous visits brought three defeats and a draw. For Morientes, however, there is nothing to fear. "I know the ground well, I've played a lot of games here, I know the players and it will be special for me, because I have played with a lot of them in the Spain national team," he said.

'Hard-fought game'
"Deportivo are our main rivals and I'm sure our two games against them will say a lot about our prospects. It's very important for us to be group leaders, but this has only just begun. I think this is going to be a very hard-fought game, because of the way we are playing, the experience of our opponents and the way they have been playing lately."