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Rediff.com  » Sports » Real's Champions League tie to be played in empty Legia stadium

Real's Champions League tie to be played in empty Legia stadium

November 02, 2016 13:27 IST

'There is no advantage. I always prefer to play in front of supporters even away from home because that's what football is all about, but that's the situation we face'

Cristiano Ronaldo

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo at a training session. Photograph: Andreas Comas/Reuters

Playing behind closed doors will not offer any advantage to Real Madrid when they contest their Champions League Group F game at Legia Warsaw on Wednesday, coach Zinedine Zidane said.

Legia's opening game against Borussia Dortmund at the Polish Army Stadium was overshadowed by crowd trouble and tournament organisers UEFA banned fans from attending the next home game, against Real, as well as fining the club 80,000 euros ($88,424.00).

Zidane, who played in an empty stadium for Real against Roma in 2004, said he did not favour playing a game without supporters.

"There is no advantage. I always prefer to play in front of supporters even away from home because that's what football is all about, but that's the situation we face," Zidane told a news conference on Tuesday.

"We have to play without any fans and we're going to prepare as we always do, only thinking about how important the three points are."

Legia are known for having one of the most hostile atmospheres in Europe and 13 supporters were arrested before their 5-1 defeat by Real at the Bernabeu on Oct. 18.

Three points against Legia and a win for Borussia Dortmund against Sporting Lisbon would ensure the European champions qualify for the next round with two games to spare.

Real, however, face a shortage of personnel in defence.

Influential centre-back Pepe has been ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury, while fellow defender and captain Sergio Ramos is also absent.

Zidane also discarded left-back Marcelo along with Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez for the trip to Poland and is still without Luka Modric, although the French coach was boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal.

Real's injury crisis in defence heightens their problems at the back, and they have not kept a clean sheet in nine games in all competitions.

"It doesn't worry me although it is a fact," Zidane added.

"In every game we seem to concede, and it's always annoying, but you can't control everything in football even when you have the best players around.

"Of course we can improve that, and we work on it in training, but the opposition can always cause you problems at some point."

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