10 agosto 2006

Red Star out to settle score with AC Milan

The Rossineri better watch out in Belgrade!

Red Star out to settle score with AC Milan

By Zoran Milosavljevic

BELGRADE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Club president Dragan Stojkovic believes Red Star Belgrade can knock AC Milan out of the Champions League qualifiers when the Italians face the "inferno" of the Serbians' Marakana ground.

Stojkovic, who scored both Red Star's goals against Milan in a 1988 European Cup tie, was upbeat despite his side losing Wednesday's third round, first leg 1-0 at San Siro.

"We have every reason to hope we can defy the odds and qualify for the Champions League," he was quoted as telling popular daily Sportski Zurnal on Thursday.

"Milan know very well that an inferno awaits them at our Marakana ground, they've been there before."

Stojkovic, whose 1988 side were knocked out on penalties by future trophy winners Milan after two 1-1 draws, was not the only one relishing the second leg in Belgrade on Aug. 22.

Right back Dusan Basta said it was "payback time" for the Serbian club, adding: "I wasn't at all impressed by the six-times European champions although they had more chances.

"We have a good result for the return leg in Belgrade and I am confident our fans will be the extra man we need to achieve our dream of knocking Milan out.

"No one gave us a chance in hell when we were drawn against this European giant, but we showed a lot of heart."

Only a string of superb saves by goalkeeper keeper Ivan Randjelovic kept Red Star's hopes alive on Wednesday after Filippo Inzaghi hit a 22nd minute winner on his 33rd birthday.

Coach Dusan Bajevic was more cautious, saying: "Milan will be even stronger and much more dangerous in two weeks' time because they have just started preparing for the new season and this will make our job very difficult.

"On the other hand, we have two weeks to get some rest and brace ourselves for another titanic clash with them. We'll do our best to get the result we want."

Red Star, who won the European Cup in 1991, have never qualified for the lucrative group stage of Europe's premier club competition.


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