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Apr 9, 2013

Gala fans don't concern Real stars

Fabio Coentrao and Mesut Ozil say Real Madrid have the experience to deal with Galatasaray's fans during Tuesday night's Champions League quarter-final second leg in Istanbul.

Madrid lost 3-2 on their only previous visit to Galatasaray in 2000-01, at the original, more intimidating Ali Sami Yen stadium, with its [in]famous 'Welcome to Hell' banners and cauldron-like noise.

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Galatasaray's slim hopes of overturning a 3-0 first-leg scoreline, which were dealt another blow when UEFA confirmed top scorer Burak Yilmaz would miss the game through suspension, have been pegged on the fans inside the Turkish club's new, more modern Ali Sami Yen [or Turk Telekom Arena] generating a similarly raucous atmosphere and unnerving the visiting players.

But Coentrao told reporters at Monday's UEFA press conference that Madrid's players would concentrate on their own performances and ignore what was going on in the stands around them.

"The players on this team are used to playing in these kind of unfavourable environments," the Portugal international said. "These supporters are different. We are going to have to remain calm and do our job in order to achieve a good score. We cannot be thinking of the atmosphere because we have to be focused on what is happening on the pitch."

Madrid have won all seven ties in which they took a 3-0 first-leg advantage into the second leg but Coentrao is taking nothing for granted.

"We have not won anything yet," he said. "It is true we have a good advantage from the first game. We have a difficult match ahead. If we want to be in the semi-finals, we must play a good match, like we did at the Bernabeu."

Germany international Ozil, whose grandparents are all Turkish, spoke with the TV channel of Galatasaray's rivals Besiktas. He also hailed the support which the home fans were likely to provide, but said Madrid's players had the belief to come through by focusing on their own game.

"We have a great opportunity," he said. "It will be difficult. They are playing at home and their fans will support them so much. We believe in ourselves, and want to play our own game."

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