Olympique Lyonnais coach Paul Le Guen insists his side "still have a great chance" at home to FC Porto.
By Pete Sanderson in Lyon
Olympique Lyonnais coach Paul Le Guen has urged his players to give FC Porto a taste of their own medicine ahead of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at Stade Gerland on Wednesday.
Goals from Deco and Ricardo Carvalho ensured Le Guen's young side must recover from a 2-0 reverse at the Estádio do Dragão two weeks ago if their dreams of a semi-final meeting with either AC Milan or RC Deportivo La Coruña are to be realised.
Until AS Monaco achieved that feat against Real Madrid CF on Tuesday, only one side had recovered from a two-goal deficit since the Champions League began in 1992/93, when a spirited FC Barcelona side fought back from a 3-1 defeat against Chelsea FC to win 6-4 on aggregate in 1999/2000. But undeterred, Le Guen insists his side have the talent, the pedigree and the mental steel to oust the UEFA Cup holders.
"We still have a great chance to go through," said Le Guen. "I was disappointed with both the way we played and the result in Portugal. Their players responded better to the occasion and made home advantage count. But anyone who watches Lyon regularly knows that when we play well and the crowd get behind us, almost anything is possible at the Gerland."
The French champions are no strangers to comebacks. Two years ago, they recovered from a 4-1 first-leg defeat at Club Brugge KV in the UEFA Cup third round to advance, with Sonny Anderson scoring a memorable hat-trick. The Brazilian striker has since moved on to pastures new, although his country is still represented at the Gerland by Giovane Elber, Edmílson and playmaker Juninho Pernambucano, a player Le Guen admits has surpassed all expectations in Europe's premier club competition.
"We could not have expected more from Juninho this season," Le Guen said. "He has scored some vital goals for us to get us here, although it has been a long season for him. He has flown to Brazil and back in the last week and we can't expect everything to come through him against Porto. But we have plenty of players capable of being matchwinners in this side."
Juninho has now fully recovered from a recent ear infection and will start the game. However, French international forward Sidney Govou misses the game with a hamstring injury while knee and ankle problems respectively sideline Claudio Caçapa and Eric Carrière. Long-term casualty Christophe Delmotte is expected to earn a place on the bench.
The queue for the treatment table is slightly shorter in the Porto camp, with coach José Mourinho boosted by the news that Benni McCarthy and Maniche both made the plane to Lyon. Mourinho is confident his side can secure their place in the semi-final. "The first leg was an ideal result," he said.
"I am sure we will stay in front," Mourinho continued. "Lyon will have to score twice at least, and make sure they do not concede a goal which is going to be tough for them as that is our aim. If we score, they must score four, but we must not get complacent as football history is full of wonderful comebacks."
With a place in the last four at stake, it is the perfect opportunity for Mourinho and Le Guen to enhance their blossoming reputations. With Milan well ahead against Deportivo, almost all eyes will be on the Gerland to see which of these sides will move closer to the final.