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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 20, 2007

Vieira out of Inter's match against Valencia

ROME, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Inter Milan midfielder Patrick Vieira will miss Wednesday's Champions League match against Valencia after aggravating a thigh strain in training.

The French international, who missed Inter's 1-0 win over Cagliari at the weekend because of the injury, pulled up 20 minutes into the team's training session on Tuesday.

'He was fine this morning. In training, however, he made an odd movement and aggravated it (the injury),' Inter coach Roberto Mancini was quoted as saying on La Gazzetta dello Sport's website.

'It was pointless to risk making it worse, so I decided not to select him.'

Inter host Valencia in the first leg of their first knockout round tie at the San Siro stadium.

Captain Javier Zanetti has told his team mates to forget their previous victories over Valencia ahead of their meeting on Wednesday.

The first leg, last 16 match at Milan's San Siro stadium will be the fourth time the teams have been drawn against each other in European competition in the last six seasons, with Inter usually coming out on top.

The Italian champions beat the Spanish side in the quarter-finals of the 2001-02 UEFA Cup before knocking them out at the same stage of the Champions League the following year.

They then thrashed Valencia 5-1 at the Mestalla stadium in the group stages of the 2004-05 competition.

'I came on during that match and had the fortune to set up Adriano to score (Inter's fourth goal). I remember the great performance by our team that night,' Zanetti was quoted as saying on Inter's website.

'But tomorrow will be just like any other game. Both at home and away they will be very difficult to beat.'

Both sides come into the match on the back of good results.

Inter are dominating Serie A, and notched up their 16th successive win by beating Cagliari 1-0 at the weekend, while Valencia climbed to third in the Spanish league on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over leaders Barcelona.

'We are in great shape. The team has been doing well since the start of the season,' said Zanetti.

'But now we face two games in which we can't afford to make any mistakes, and the fact that we are doing so well in the league will not make any difference.

'We know we are capable of beating anyone, but we are also aware that the Champions League is a very difficult competition. I don't think it will be easy to face one of the most in-form teams in Europe over two legs.'

The San Siro, which has a capacity of 85,000, will be less than half-full for the game.

A limit of 36,000 spectators has been imposed on the ground while works are carried out to bring it into line with a new anti-hooligan plan introduced following the death of a policeman in rioting at a Serie A match earlier this month.

'It will be tough not to have all our supporters there, but we can't do anything about that,' said Zanetti.

'We know that in the return leg we will face a very hostile atmosphere. We just hope we can play two great matches at home and away'.

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