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Wanted: football miracle

The Servette team had little to smile about in Valencia Keystone

Swiss football club Servette Geneva take on Spanish giants Valencia in the second leg of the UEFA Cup's fourth round on Thursday, knowing that only a sporting miracle will keep them in the competition.

This content was published on February 27, 2002 - 17:12

Lucien Favre's side were convincingly outplayed by the Spanish league leaders when the two sides first met in Spain last Tuesday and will somehow have to overcome a 3-0 deficit if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Favre hopes his team can maintain the defensive strength that has seen Servette keep clean sheets in all three of their European home matches this season, but the hopes don't stretch much further than that.

"We should maintain that good defensive record," Favre reckoned, "and upfront it would be nice to get a goal or two."

Injury worries

With no-one now expecting Servette to go through, the team may at least be able to play with a bit more attacking risk than was ventured in the first leg. In terms of available personnel, however, the Genevans have even more headaches than in Spain.

As well as long-term casualties Aleksandar Bratic, Alexandre Comisetti and Léonard Thurre, Servette are also now without an injured Wilson Oruma and may also have to do without Christophe Jaquet and Vitorino Hilton.

Valencia, who are chasing their first Spanish league title in 31 years, are also without some key players and may choose to rest others ahead of this weekend's domestic tie with Real Zaragoza.

Servette players hoping for some strong vocal home support may be disappointed. Although the Charmilles stadium is sold out for Thursday's match, the majority of the tickets have been snapped up by Spanish supporters.

swissinfo with agencies

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