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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Deportivo move closer to last 16

Deportivo move closer to last 16

November 26, 2003 12:07 IST

Deportivo Coruna coach Javier Irureta said his side's 3-0 win over AEK Athens on Tuesday has erased memories of their humiliating 8-3 defeat by Monaco three weeks ago.

The Galician side were shell-shocked after their last Champions League Group C game but produced a confident performance against the Greeks.

"This result has allowed us to bury the memory of the Monaco game," Irureta told a news conference. "Our pride was really hurt by the Monaco defeat."

Depor's comfortable victory at the Riazor means that they could qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League even if they lose 1-0 to PSV Eindhoven away in their final match on December 10.

According to UEFA's qualification rules the head to head results between teams that finish level on points determine which goes through.

Monaco, who drew 1-1 at home to PSV, are now assured of a place in the knockout phase of the competition.

Irureta said he hoped for a favour from AEK in their final match at home to Monaco, so that his side could have a chance of qualifying in first place in the group.

"Our aim has always been to try and qualify in first place in the group," he said. "But now we also depend on AEK to help us out. I am hoping for a lot from the Greeks when they play Monaco."

Deportivo had a relatively comfortable time against the Greeks, who were already out of the running for qualification after earning just one point from their first four games.

Once defender Hector broke the deadlock with a thundering drive on 22 minutes they were in complete control and second- half goals from Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque effectively killed off the game with 20 minutes to go.

AEK coach Dusan Bajevic said that despite a promising start his team had lost heart as a result of the Hector goal.

"After the goal it was just a case of damage limitation," he said. "We created some scoring chances, but just weren't able to get the ball in the net.

"Deportivo had nothing to prove against us and they certainly deserve to be in the strong position in which they now find themselves."

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