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Home > Sports > Football > Reuters > Report


Struggling Monaco seek cutting edge

Etienne Ballerini | March 08, 2005 18:28 IST

Monaco will hope to rediscover their attacking flair when they host PSV Eindhoven needing victory to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

  • SMS SPRT to 7333 for live updates of the pre-quarter finals second leg on Wednesday after 0115 hrs IST

Beaten 1-0 in a tight first leg, the principality team, last season's Champions League runners-up, must almost certainly score two goals to reach the last eight.

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Monaco's form, however, is a far cry from what they showed in the competition's first phase, in which they finished top of their group ahead of Liverpool.

The team coached by former France captain Didier Deschamps have won just one match in the last six weeks when they laboured to a 1-0 success at Stade Rennes in the French Cup third round.

Strikers Javier Saviola and Mohamed Kallon, once the most lethal partnership in Ligue 1, have found the net only twice in their last four league games.

"We have squandered many chances to score goals," Deschamps said after his side were held 0-0 at home by Metz on Saturday.

"To remain optimistic, I would say that we only spared ourselves to be at our best against PSV," said Deschamps, who may restore fit-again Uruguay striker Ernesto Chevanton to his starting line-up.

Fourth in the Ligue 1 standings and trailing leaders Olympique Lyon by 11 points, Monaco have almost given up hope of winning the title.

What they fear most is finishing the season empty-handed once again.

"We want to win something this time," said striker Emmanuel Adebayor. "The [French] Cup has become a priority but we must not forget the Champions League.

"We have learned a lot from our last year's campaign and it could be a great help during the knock-out stage," said defender Sebastien Squillaci.

EXTENDED PREPARATIONS

While Monaco are struggling with their shape, PSV enjoyed extended preparations for the match when Sunday's Dutch first division game at Groningen was postponed.

"Under normal conditions a match on Sunday would be perfect but on a frozen and snow covered pitch it pleases me that they cancelled the match," coach Guus Hiddink told reporters.

The in-form league leaders travel to the south of France with a fully fit squad, including John de Jong and Philip Cocu.

De Jong missed Saturday's training session because of a bruised toe, while Cocu was bothered by a thigh injury.

Both players joined the squad during a relaxed final training session on Monday before travelling to Monaco to attempt to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 1990.

Probable teams:

AS Monaco: 30-Flavio Roma; 13-Douglas Maicon, 27-Julien Rodriguez, 32-Gael Givet, 3-Patrice Evra, 15-Andreas Zikos, 7-Lucas Bernardi, 8-Mohammed Kallon, 6-Jaroslav Plasil, 9-Javier Saviola, 10-Ernesto Chevanton.

PSV Eindhoven: 1-Gomes; 2-Andre Ooijer, 4-Alex, 5-Wilfred Bouma, 3-Lee Young-Pyo; 6-Mark van Bommel, 14-Johann Vogel, 8-Philip Cocu; 7-Park Ji-Sung, 9-Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, 17-Jefferson Farfan

Referee: Steve Bennett (England)


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