Newcastle v Juventus
Winless Newcastle have been urged by their skilful French winger Lauren Robert to get at Italian champions Juventus right from the kick-off .
Sir Bobby Robson’s men must win tonight to give themselves any chance of qualification for the second phase, and Robert is insisting Newcastle, hammered 5-2 by Blackburn on Saturday, should not be in awe of the Turin club.
“We must not be scared of Juventus, we have to attack them with the bit between our teeth,” he said.
“We have to showthe rest of Europe what a good team we are.”
Newcastle have lost all three of their Group E games so far, and Robert is under no illusions as to the scalle of the task that lies ahead, but the Frenchman remains convinced that attack is the only way forward.
“We have to go for it and attack because a draw is no good. We know we are good enough to beat them and we have to if we are to have any chance of qualifying for the next round.”
Club skipper Alan Shearer, who scored his 300th career goal at Blackburn, also issued a rallying cry to his team-mates.
“We’re not out yet, and while we know it will be tough after the start we’ve hadthere are three matches left and nine points still to play for,” said Shearer.
“Until it’s impossible for us to qualify we’ll be doing everything in our power to pick up the points,” assured the former England international.
Their hopes are not helped by suspensions to striker Craig Bellamy, who scored the winner for Wales against Italy last week, and Nikos Dabizas. Kieron Dyer is also rated “extremely doubtful” for the sell out clash at St James’ Park. Surprisingly, last year’s North East Player of the Year, keeper Shay Given could be dropped in favour of Steve Harper.
Juventus, who head the group by two points from Feyenoord, look ready to re-introduce summer signing Marco Di Vaio into the starting eleven after he was left out for the 1-1 Serie A draw with Inter at the weekend. David Trezeguet is injured and Paolo Montero was operated on this week so is unavailable. Marcelo Salas and Igor Tudor have been left behind after being unable to prove their fitness.
Juve are unbeaten in all competitions this season, and know a win would virtually guarantee qualification from the Group, but coach Marcello Lippi refuses to get carried away. “Even if we win, we are not mathematically through,” Lippi said.
“So we will not change our approach. We always try to win games.”
Newcastle: Harper/Given, Griffin, O’Brien, Bramble, Hughes, Solano, Speed, Jenas, Robert, Ameobi/Lua Lua, Shearer
Juventus: Buffon, Thuram, Ferrara, Iuliano, Birindelli, Camoranesi, Tacchinardi, Davids, Nedved, Del Piero, Di Vaio
Dynamo Kyiv v Feyenoord
With Juventus looking comfortable at the top of Group E, both these teams know this is amust win game in the fight for second place.
The Dutch have the upper hand at the moment, second with 5 points, but Kyiv, third with four, would leapfrog Feyenoord with victory tonight.
“We have no option but to beat our opponents,” said Dynamo captain Andriy Husin.
Feyenoord defender Tomasz Rzasa also outlined the importance of the fixture, saying: “I think this game in Kyiv will decide who is going to finish second.”
Feyenoord is not a happy camp at present, with injuries and poor form blighting their season. They are currently only fourth in the Eridivision, eight points behind great rivals Ajax. They were held to a 1-1 draw by Vitesse at the weekend, and are missing talisman Pierre Van Hooijdonk, out for four weeks after suffering a hairline fracture of the right ankle. The temperamental Dutchman looked to have finally found somewhere to call home at De Kuip, labeling Feyenoord “the strongest team I have ever joined.”
Indeed injuries are so bad for the club that when asked in a press conference who would replace Van Hooijdonk in the line-up, coach Bert van Marwijk replied blandly: “Zoetebier”. Edwin Zoetebier isof course the goalkeeper.
The Dutch are missing Van Hooijdonk, and Patrick Paauwe, Paul Bosvelt, Thomas Buffel, Anthony Lurling and Kees Van Wonderen are all having treatment on various different ailments, and are touch and go for the Kyiv game.
In contrast Dynamo are seemingly over their own injury crisis. “I think our chances are quite good,” said coach Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko.
“The best news is that several injured players are back with us again.”
Goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovsky, defender Yuriy Dmytrulin and talented Belarussian Valentin Belkevich, are all fit again after spells on the sidelines, and Kyiv also have the in form Romanian playmaker Florin Cernat in their armoury. Cernat was largely responsible for the Ukrainians reaching this stage, scoring both goals in Dynamo’s 2-0 aggregate CL qualifier win over Levski Sofia.