Friday, 31 August 2007

CL: Draw applauded in peninsula

Champions League drawInter boss Roberto Mancini played down a favourable Champions League draw, while Roma are itching for revenge against Manchester United.

The Nerazzurri can have few complaints after landing PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce and will surely fancy their chances of beginning their bid to conquer Europe by topping the group.

"It was a good draw," admitted Inter stopper Maco Materazzi. "They are good sides, but it is certainly better than facing Barcelona or Manchester United. "We have problems with suspensions and injuries, but we shouldn’t moan. We should look to get through at all costs."

The defender’s enthusiasm contrasted with boss Mancini’s caution as he insisted that no win could be taken for granted in this showpiece event.

"It’s a difficult draw as always," the ex-Samp hitman maintained. "When you look at a tournament of quality sides like the Champions League, it is very hard to rank the sides in order of ability."

The draw was less kind to the Roman representatives with Lazio set to take on Real Madrid, Werder Bremen and Olympiakos, while Roma must exorcise their demons against a Manchester United side who beat them 7-1 last year.

"The lads have been carrying that defeat with them for a long time and to have the chance to bury that memory is a great incentive," Giallorossi coach Luciano Spalletti acknowledged. "But the other sides are tough too. Dynamo Kiev have a strong attack with Serhiy Rebrov and other quality players and we will have to play out there when it is really cold.

"Sporting Lisbon are also a very decent side who show their true ability when they are at home."

Holders Milan were grouped with Benfica, Celtic and Cristiano Lucarelli’s Shakhtar Donetsk, a draw which Vice-President Adriano Galliani believes bodes well.

"All I will say is that we have good memories of Benfica after two Finals we won there and Celtic are a good omen as every time we play them we end up getting to the Final," he enthused.

Milan take on Sevilla in the Super Cup tonight and will wear the No 16 as a mark of respect for the Spanish side's midfielder Antonio Puerta who died this week.

Source: C4 Football Italia

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