UEFA Champions League debutants IF Elfsborg will be playing to restore pride when they welcome Valencia CF to Sweden with the Spanish side 3-0 to the good.
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IF Elfsborg will be playing to restore pride when they welcome Valencia CF to Sweden for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie with the visitors 3-0 ahead.
The Boras-based side may top the Allsvenskan as they seek to successfully defend the title for the first time in 67 years, but their debut UEFA Champions League campaign, beginning in the first qualifying round, is under threat after a disappointing display in Spain a fortnight ago. Defender Daniel Mobaeck remains hopeful, however. "We didn't do ourselves justice so we've been looking forward to this game," Mobaeck said. "It's a chance to show what we're really capable of. We struggled with their tactics in the first leg as we're not used to players drifting out of position the way they did. It made things difficult. Now we must attack and even if we concede ten goals, we owe it to ourselves and our fans to give it a go."
Elfsborg coach Magnus Haglund, whose team are unbeaten at home in eight months, is without key midfielder Stefan Ishizaki who picked up a thigh injury in the 0-0 weekend draw against Helsingborgs IF. "You have to be fully fit to play and right now I can't train," said Ishizaki. "I'll see a specialist, but realistically the chance is gone for me to take part." Haglund, though, is staying upbeat. "We'll be at our best against a world-class team," he said. "It might not be enough, but I believe there is a chance. In Valencia I think we were in shock a little, but now we know what it takes and we're going to do our best."
Valencia suffered a setback of their own on Sunday, losing their opening Primera División match 3-0 at home to local rivals Villarreal CF and ending the game with nine men. Coach Quique Sánchez Flores is expected to rest players – and will definitely leave out injured winger Vicente Rodríguez (thigh), striker Nikola Žigić (sprained ankle) and midfielder Edu (knee ligament damage). "We're going to play as if there hadn't been a previous result - that's the best we can do," said the coach. "If we can get through to the UEFA Champions League then we can cap a great season and give the crowd what they want, which is to have the team playing among the best." Rubén Baraja added: "When you play a match every three days you don't have much time to think about the previous game, but you can improve and make amends."