UEFA Champions League Match
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Time: 20:45 (CET)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009.
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AC Milan coach Leonardo has called on his side "to keep moving forward" as they look to build on their fine recent run with the victory over FC Zürich that could secure them top spot in UEFA Champions League Group C. The in-form Rossoneri would miss out on a place in the knockout phase should they drop points and section leaders Real Madrid CF lose at Olympique de Marseille, but Leonardo believes his side are up to the challenge. "We are a mature team that has played important games before," he said. Zürich pulled off a shock win at San Siro on Matchday 2 and their coach Bernard Challandes expects another strong performance on Tuesday, even if their European campaign is certain of ending after this match.
Bernard Challandes, Zürich coach
We need to play well and then we can say the Champions League was a good experience, even if we didn't qualify. We can't go through, but that's not the point. We are playing against giants. A game against Milan, with or without a chance of qualifying, remains a game against Ronaldinho and many world champions. If a player isn't motivated for a game like that, he should do something else. We have to find the strength within ourselves, otherwise it is going to be a very tough game. Milan are very strong and they impressed against Sampdoria, who didn't touch the ball on Saturday. Add to this the fact they must win. After the draw, we could not reasonably have had qualification as our goal. Not qualifying is normal, but we have to be proud of our performances.
Leonardo, Milan coach
It's obviously going to be very difficult. We only have to depend on ourselves, so we have to think about our game. We have done some positive things recently. We don't care what happens in the other game: we want to write our own positive story. I have seen Zürich's recent results, but I don't pay attention to them. We know what they are capable of. They will be motivated and we will have to keep our concentration. We are a mature team that has played important games before and we have to keep moving forward. First place depends on the other match, which is why we only need to think about ours. The objective is to win, which would take us through. I am optimistic about Ronaldinho: he has had some muscular problems, but I am confident he will play.
• Zürich lost to Grasshoppers for the first time since 9 December 2007, ending a run of four wins and three draws against their city rivals. The result also dropped them to seventh in the ten-team division.
05/12/09 Milan 3-0 UC Sampdoria
(Borriello 2, Seedorf 21, Pato 23)
• The victory extended Milan's unbeaten run to 12 matches and brought the second-placed side within four points of league pacesetters FC Internazionale Milano.
• Clarence Seedorf's goal was his 50th in Serie A − 39 for Milan, eight with Inter and three at Sampdoria.
• Zürich pulled off one of the shocks of the group stage when Hannu Tihinen's early back-heel secured a memorable win at San Siro on Matchday 2.
• That surprise success was payback of sorts for last season, when Milan beat the Swiss club home and away in the UEFA Cup first round.
Did you know?
Andrea Pirlo and Gianluca Zambrotta played in this stadium for Italy in a 1-1 draw with Romania during the UEFA EURO 2008™ group stage. Massimo Ambrosini came on as a second-half substitute.
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