Fenerbahçe in desperate bid against rival Arsenal

Fenerbahçe in desperate bid against rival Arsenal

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Fenerbahçe in desperate bid against rival Arsenal

Fener has lost to the British football club 3-0. The club’s Champions League chance now depends on a strong come back. AFP photo

Fenerbahçe is visiting the Emirates Stadium in London with little hope to turn around a three-goal first-leg defeat to Arsenal in the Champions League playoff second leg game tonight.

Arsenal effectively ensured the Premier League will have four representatives in this season’s competition after a commanding 3-0 victory against Fenerbahçe in Turkey put Arsene Wenger’s men firmly in the driving seat ahead of the second leg in London.

History overwhelmingly favors Arsenal, who is on the brink of a 16th straight appearance in the group stage, with only two teams ever having inflicted a home defeat of three or more goals on the Gunners in the club’s European history.

Further lengthening the odds of an unlikely comeback is Fenerbahçe’s dismal record in England, where it has scored a combined three goals in eight visits.

However, left back Kieran Gibbs was adamant Arsenal would not become complacent, despite its status as heavy favorite to advance.

“It’s still not over because we’ve got another tie,” said the defender.

“We have to go in on all cylinders again, otherwise if we sit back and think that we’re already through it can put us on the back foot, and we don’t want that. We have to be strong and make sure we finish off the job.”

Seven-times European champion AC Milan is looking to bounce back from a disastrous start to its Serie A campaign as it goes in search of a place in the Champions League group stage this week.

Milan campaign

Milan, who last won the competition in 2007, go into its return fixture against Dutch runners-up PSV Eindhoven at the San Siro with a slight advantage after a 1-1 draw in the Netherlands a week ago.

However, Milan’s domestic campaign got off to a dreadful start at the weekend as they crashed to a 2-1 defeat at newly-promoted Verona, with coach Massimiliano Allegri lashing out at his side’s display.

“We had the totally wrong attitude (on Saturday) and we’re not going to make much progress if it continues,” warned Allegri.

Midfielder Andrea Poli emphasized the need to put the setback behind them and focus solely on tomorrow’s match against PSV, a game Allegri labelled as the “most important of the season so far.”

“We had a positive performance at PSV and we faced a dangerous side, but we got a good result and we will look to finish the job in the return leg,” said Poli.

“We always have respect for the opposition, but we are Milan and we have to qualify at every cost. We have to stop talking about it and just get on with the job in hand,” added the Italy international.

Celtic, winner in 1967, must overturn a two-goal deficit against Kazakh champions Shakhter Karagandy in Glasgow tomorrow if it is to continue its Champions League adventure.

“The tie is far from over. We’ve got plenty in us to turn the deficit around and the players will be very, very motivated,” said Hoops boss Neil Lennon.

“There will be a few players who will be disappointed with their performances, but we’re still well in this tie, although we’ve got a lot to do,” he added.