Monaco to clash with Real Madrid in Champions League

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Monaco will take on Real Madrid in their U.E.F.A. Champions League quarter final second leg on Tuesday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Louis II Stadium, Monaco:

Monaco take on Real Madrid in their U.E.F.A. Champions League quarter final second leg on Tuesday, and on the eve of the encounter, both sides trained at Monaco's Louis II Stadium, the venue for the match. Monaco coach Didier Deschamps called on his side to strike the right balance between defence and attack, despite having to come back from a 4-2 first-leg defeat. Advantage with Real Real meanwhile are the hot favourites to reach the last four, and remain on course for a record 10th European crown. Monaco shocked virtually the whole of European football when they took a first-half lead in their U.E.F.A. Champions League quarter-final match against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. That they went on to concede four goals is a measure of the talent at the disposal of Real coach Carlos Queiroz, but a Real old boy, Fernando Morientes, on loan for the season at Monaco, scored what could prove to be a vital second goal and in the end, the French side lost four-two. On the eve of Tuesday's second leg, both sides trained at Monaco's Louis II Stadium in preparation for the match, and the home side have their problems. Centre back Sebastien Squillaci, who scored Monaco's opener in the first leg, and Argentine international Lucas Bernardi are both absentees, but Monaco do welcome back striker Shabani Nonda from long-term injury. However, coach Didier Deschamps just wants to see the right balance of defence and attack from the players that make it onto the pitch. "It is difficult, for sure, because we took (conceded) four goals in the first leg and it's very difficult because Real Madrid is very strong to score. We have to be very careful defensively first, and after we will try to score at least two goals. But the most important thing is to find the best solution between defending too much and attacking too much. I hope my players will find the good solution for tomorrow," said Didier Deschamps, Monaco coach. Without Beckham Deschamps was also asked how much Real would miss the suspended David Beckham. "He's doing very well, he's very important for both the defensive and offensive side of Real Madrid, and I think without Beckham, it's not the same team," Deschamps said. Real took to the Monaco pitch for their training session in relaxed mood. Their only concern is once again the problem that any coach would love to have - how to reduce a large and talented squad into a team of 11 players for one game. Up front, Ronaldo will be hoping to continue his season's sparkling goal scoring form. Twenty-four goals in 27 league games is impressive indeed and few would bet against his adding to his four Champions' League goals in the 2004 competition. Real will also call upon the services of Ronaldo's Brazilian compatriot, Roberto Carlos, who comes back from suspension and who scored twice at the weekend to keep Real at the top of the Spanish Primera Liga. Elsewhere on the pitch, Monaco will have to counter the threat of world player of the year Zinedine Zidane as well as Portugal's Luis Figo and the Spanish duo of Guti and Raul. Shun complacency The hot favourites have to guard against complacency. Monaco can win two-nil or three-one and go through to the last four. Such results are not beyond them, as their remarkable 8-3 victory over Spanish opposition - in this case Deportivo La Coruna - in the Group stages confirmed. That match has not been forgotten by Zidane, either. "If we don't play at 100 per cent, it's going to be very difficult, because we are playing against a very good team. They have nothing to lose. I know how they can play, everybody knows what they did against (Deportivo La) Coruna (8 -3), it was a crazy match, so if we are not at 100 per cent, it could be a problem," said Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid midfielder. Morale seems high amongst Carlos Queiroz's players, but Monaco and Morientes will give their defence a test on Tuesday night. (AP)

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