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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 24, 2008

Riise promises to bounce back after own goal

John Arne Riise has been challenged to erase the memory of his shattering Champions League own goal against Chelsea by firing Liverpool into the Moscow final.

The Norwegian full-back headed into his own net in the 95th minute of Tuesday night's semi-final first leg at Anfield, handing the Blues a priceless 1-1 draw.

Reds boss Rafael Benitez, who confirmed fellow left-back Fabio Aurelio will be out injured for three weeks, urged Riise to make amends for his mistake.

Riise came on as a second-half substitute for Aurelio on Tuesday and has now virtually been told he will play at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

Aurelio has a torn abductor muscle, and Benitez said: 'He will be out for three weeks, but back in time for the final!'

Riise today spoke for the first time about his last-ditch howler, saying: 'What can I say? I decided to stoop and head the ball in the direction it came from.

'But it was a swerving cross, the ball was wet, and it slid right off my forehead. It was a shock to see it lying in the goal.

'These things happen for defenders from time to time. I know how strong I am mentally and I will handle this and I will come back from an own goal like that.

'I have been involved in tougher things in my life than this and I know that I will handle this in a good way. I will try to turn this around to something positive.'

Benitez also confirmed he had spoken to Riise about the incident.

'I have talked with John, and told him not to keep thinking about the own goal all of the time. He must come- back and be ready,' the Spaniard said.

'Fabio will be out for three weeks, so Riise knows he has to be ready and give everything for us. The best solution would be for him to score at Stamford Bridge... in the right goal.

'If Riise scores the winning goal then that will be perfect for us.'

Netting at Stamford Bridge will be no mean feat for Riise, whose reputation for scoring spectacular goals has been hit by a drought going back more than a year.

Benitez added: 'He is really down, but the only way to change the situation is to score in the right net at Stamford Bridge. He knows that Fabio is injured, so he knows he will get his opportunities to play.

'He has scored lots of goals over a long time, and played a lot of matches for this club, so I am really disappointed for anyone but especially for him.

'He has played so well for this club, so for that to happen in the last seconds is the worst thing possible.

'We have tried to analyse what happened. (Javier) Mascherano and Aurelio could have stopped the cross, but when you are left-footed like John, the problem was whether he used his right foot to clear.

'That was the problem.'

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