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Slovan face smarting Mallorca

FC Slovan Liberec are confident they can meet the challenge of a RCD Mallorca side still smarting from their 3-1 UEFA Cup defeat in the Czech Republic two weeks ago.

FC Slovan Liberec are in the kind of goalscoring form that threatens to overcome any hurdle and they are confident they can meet the challenge on Thursday of a RCD Mallorca side still smarting from their 3-1 UEFA Cup defeat in the Czech Republic two weeks ago.

Stronger outfit
Slovan have scored 20 goals in their last six games and if anything they will be a stronger outfit than the one Mallorca met in the first leg of their third-round tie with Jan Nezmar, a substitute in the first game, coming in for Baffour Gyan.

Leading marksman
Nezmar is in good shape having scored three goals in his last two games while partner Jirí Štajner has gone one better, netting four in two games. With eleven goals he is the leading marksman in the Czech first division.

Ankle injury
The only slight doubt in coach Ladislav Škorpil's selection concerns defender Petr Lukáš, who scored the opening goal in the first fixture. He has a problem with an ankle but is expected to be fit.

Confidence high
Confidence is naturally high after a ten-match unbeaten run although on the eve of their trip to the Spanish holiday island Škorpil, one of three candidates to replace Jozef Chovanec and take charge of the national team, still laments the late goal that left the door ajar for Mallorca in the Son Moix stadium. "Nothing is decided yet," he warned. "I am sorry that we conceded the goal at the end of the first leg because a 3-0 result would have been almost a guarantee of going through."

Kresic optimistic
Opposite number Sergio Kresic, who immediately after the first game expressed his optimism for the return, is likely to lineup with three strikers, so Álvaro Novo will probably start on the bench. Vicente Engonga, Fernando Niño and Ariel Ibagaza are all injured while Gustavo Siviero is ineligible.

Major fillip
Since the game in Liberec, Mallorca have improved their league form and now lie three points above the relegation places. Their 4-1 defeat of then-leaders RC Deportivo La Coruña was a major fillip and they followed that with a 1-1 draw last weekend at Valencia CF. Albert Luque, a two-goal scorer against Deportivo, also put them ahead at the Mestalla stadium.