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UEFA Champions League

  • November 3, 2010
  • • 3:45 PM
  • • Štadión Pod Dubňom, Žilina
  • Referee: S. Johannesson
  • • Attendance: 9664
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7

Champions League Preview: Zilina – Olympique De Marseille

Champions League Preview: Zilina – Olympique De Marseille

After a competitive clash in Provence, the Slovaks will hope to go better against les Phoceens at home.

Pointless

Zilina’s Champions League debut was expected to be difficult, though the Slovakian side would have held out hopes of avoiding a whitewash when the draw was made, pitting them against Chelsea, Spartak Moscow and Olympique de Marseille. Halfway through their campaign, they have yet to win a point, and after testing OM in France, they’ll hope to earn at least a draw on home soil.

Coach Pavel Hapal watched on a fortnight ago as MSK gave the Ligue 1 champions a real scare. There was little pretty about their direct approach, but their long accurate balls over the top of the OM defense for Momodou Ceesay to chase caused more than the occasional problem and on another day the group minnows might have enjoyed a good deal more success.

“Nobody expected such a good game from Zilina. We managed to compete effectively with OM, but it was not enough,” he told OMTV after the game with a sense of satisfaction yet frustration. “We almost got a point back but failed. We played against a great opponent but despite our very good performance, we could not beat them.

“We will do everything to grab third place. I'm sure we can do better at home with our fans behind us.”

The challenge has therefore been thrown down to Marseille by a side who have struggled a little at home domestically, drawing four of their six fixtures at the Stadion pod Dubnom. A split of the points might be considered a moral victory for the hosts come Wednesday night, but it’s unlikely to be enough to keep them with a serious interest in the group. Three points are required.

Washout

Marseille haven’t had the smoothest start to the season, but Didier Deschamps’ side are now firmly in the winning habit, having claimed victories in all of their last four matches. OM, who started the season with shock losses to Caen and Valenciennes, still aren’t playing to their true capacity, and are merely grinding wins out, having won 1-0 three times in their mini winning sequence.

Les Phoceens were left frustrated at the weekend as their Championnat clash with Stade Rennais was rained off. A prolonged downpour over the weekend left the Stade Velodrome pitch looking more like a swimming pool than a footballing surface, and despite attempts to play the match on Sunday after it was initially postponed on Saturday night, it proved a washout.

The last fixture that Marseille played, therefore, was a Coupe de la Ligue encounter against Championnat National side Guingamp. A fringe squad were really tested by their third tier opponents and come full-time they were lucky to walk away with a 1-0 victory.

That lethargic performance has been rather typical of OM’s season to date. At times they struggled to get into top gear, and though it hasn’t punished them too heavily domestically, they’re in a poor position in the Champions League after losing to Chelsea and Spartak Moscow.

This was finally supposed to be the season that les Phoceens progressed through the group stages, but unless they can lift themselves to a level as yet unattained this term, they face another spring of Europa League football.


TEAM NEWS

Zilina

The hosts are fortunate to have a clean bill of health going into this encounter. Babatounde Bello and Mario Pecalka have recently started playing again after physical problems.

Marseille


Only Hilton and Edouard Cisse are missing from Didier Deschamps’ panel to travel to Slovakia.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
30Martin DubravkaGoalkeeper
2Stanislav AngelovicDefender
3Mario PecalkaDefender
7Vladimir LeitnerMidfielder
23Ondrej SourekDefender
44Admir VladavicMidfielder
-Issiaka BelloStriker
19Sergio VittorMidfielder
12Robert JezMidfielder
14Tomáš OravecStriker
18Momodou CeesayStriker
22Martin KrnacGoalkeeper
15Jozef PiacekDefender
5L. GuldanDefender
9Emil RilkeStriker
27Stefan ZosakMidfielder
42Roman GergelMidfielder
10Thomas MajtanStriker
30Steve MandandaGoalkeeper
20G. HeinzeDefender
21Souleymane DiawaraDefender
17Stéphane M'BiaMidfielder
-xMidfielder
-Charles KaboréMidfielder
8Lucho GonzálezMidfielder
7Benoît CheyrouMidfielder
28Mathieu ValbuenaMidfielder
9André Pierre GignacStriker
11Loïc RemyStriker
16AndradeGoalkeeper
14Leyti N'DiayeDefender
18Fabrice AbrielMidfielder
15Jordan AyewStriker
3Taye TaiwoDefender
10André AyewStriker
9BrandaoStriker
Players to Watch
Momodou Ceesay
Momodou Ceesay
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 18
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
André Ayew
André Ayew
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Prediction
Editor's Prediction
Zilina 0

From the web

From the web