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Home > Sports > Football > UEFA Champions League 2005-06 > Report


Barca out to finish Benfica

Trevor Huggins | March 28, 2006 10:17 IST

Champions League favourites Barcelona are looking to kill off their quarter-final against Benfica with a game to spare on Tuesday.

While Juventus face Arsenal in north London, the Portuguese first leg of the Iberian derby gives Barcelona a chance to show why bookmakers are quoting the Catalans at 7-4 to lift the trophy in Paris on May 17.

"We want to settle the tie in Lisbon," Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o told Spanish paper El Mundo Deportivo. "If it were only one game we would go all out 200%. As it is over two legs we'll only go out at 199%.

"We have a great squad. Although we have Rafael Marquez and Edmilson out injured, and Carles Puyol suspended, those who come in will do their best."

Pointing up Benfica's main absentee, the striker added: "I think it will affect Benfica more the absence of their top scorer Nuno Gomes."

Eto'o's upbeat approach contrasted with the more sombre mood of his coach Frank Rijkaard, who highlighted how Benfica triumphed over holders Liverpool in the previous round.

"We aren't overconfident," he told reporters before flying to Lisbon. "I respect Benfica. They are a great Portuguese side who knocked out Liverpool.

"We'll have to fight to win and give our all."

VIEIRA'S RETURN

The focus at Highbury will be the return of Juventus midfielder Patrick Vieira to the ground where he played for nine seasons in a trophy-laden spell with the Gunners.

The former Arsenal captain is expected to get a warm reception from the home fans but can expect no favours once the match starts.

Arsenal have never reached the Champions League semi-finals and there is a new generation of players anxious to prove themselves -- and none more so than Vieira's teenage successor Francesc Fabregas.

Manager Arsene Wenger just hopes his team strike the balance right between getting forward in enough numbers to hurt Juventus without exposing themselves too much at the back.

"You face a little bit of a psychological problem," he told the club's website. "In the first game you have to attack but you know that every goal you concede is a problem for you."

However, the Frenchman believes his promising young side can take heart from having knocked out Real Madrid after winning 1-0 away and then drawing 0-0 at Highbury.

"We believe that the Real Madrid result helped put more self-belief into our spirits," said Wenger.

"This is another opportunity to show we can compete with a different style of play and be as efficient."



UEFA Champions League 2005-06: The Complete Coverage

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