Champions League: Villarreal need draw to qualify

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Spain's Villarreal will qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League if they get at least a draw against Lille.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Spain's Villarreal will qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League if they get at least a draw against Lille in their Group D match on Wednesday. The Spanish side, in their first Champions League campaign lead the group with seven points. They are two points ahead of Lille and Manchester United and three ahead of Benfica. A draw would also be enough for United, but only if Villarreal win. With all those possible permutations in mind, Lille coach Claude Puel said on Tuesday that he thought his Spanish opponents would go into Wednesday's match with victory in mind. Although the Spanish club have put themselves into a great position with a homematch to play, their coach was wary. Lille have already proved themselves to be tough opponents in this season's Champions League. Forlan's inclusion The inclusion of striker Diego Forlan in the Villarreal squad for the first time in more than a month should boost the team's morale. The Uruguay international, the Spanish league's leading scorer last season, tore his thigh muscle in the Champions League victory over Benfica on November 2. Villarreal, who have spent only seven seasons in the Spanish first division, have reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals and quarter-finals in the last two years. Now they want to progress further in the Champions League and will go into the game full of confidence despite the end of their 13-game unbeaten run last Sunday, as they lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Spanish League. Midfielder Santi Cazorla has also recovered from an ankle injury after a three-game absence. But coach Pellegrini will still be without injured captain Quique Alvarez, who has injured his knee, and Italian midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi, who has a muscular complaint. As for Lille, coach Puel is likely to recall captain Gregory Tafforeau, forwardMatt Moussilou, midfielders Matthieu Chalme and Mathieu Bodmer, and defender Efstathios Tavlaridis. But midfielders Mathieu Debuchy and Stephane Dumont are doubtful after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Bordeaux. (AP)

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