LA CORUNA: Deportivo Coruna midfielder Mauro Silva has warned his teammates not to give an inch to Juventus’ potentially dangerous strikers in today’s Champions League second round, first leg tie here at the Riazor Stadium.
“There is no recipe for stopping players of the calibre of Alessandro Del Piero and Marco Di Vaio,” the Brazil international told UEFA.com.
“The only thing we can do is to be extra attentive over the whole 90 minutes and not give them any room at any point in the game. It is important to make them feel uncomfortable and to make sure they are always well marked, wherever they might be on the pitch.”
Revenge will be on Deportivo’s minds having been denied a place in the quarter-finals by the reigning Italian champions last season.
A draw would have been enough for Deportivo to qualify at Juve’s expense when the teams met for their final second phase group match in Turin, and with the scores tied at 2-2 and the 90 minutes up, the Spaniards were looking good to go through to the next round.
But in a cruel twist of fate, Croatian defender Igor Tudor surged upfield and scored with a rasping drive in the third minute of stoppage time to send Juve through instead of Deportivo.
Silva, who played for Deportivo that night, said nothing can be taken for granted when playing against the Turin giants, who were defeated in last season's final by AC Milan on penalties.
“I think they are one of the strongest, most experienced teams in the competition,” he said. “Furthermore, they are a very physical side who always make the most of their style of play – even when they are not at their best, Juve are capable of beating anyone.”
Silva said even the loss of Edgar Davids, loaned to Barcelona until the end of the season when the Dutchman’s contract ends, had not weakened the Italians.
“Davids gave them strength in the centre of the field and an edge in attack but they are a very strong team and I am sure they will be just as dangerous without him,” he said.
Deportivo, playing in the Champions League for the fourth consecutive year, have never gone beyond the last eight of the competition, but Silva believes the time has come to put the record straight.
“I have always believed Deportivo can make the semi-finals of the Champions League and play a great role in the competition,” he said. “Any team like Deportivo, who have won the Spanish League and been in the Champions League for four years, can reach the semis.” – AFP