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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 26, 2009

Buffon optimistic of UCL progress despite loss

Gianluigi Buffon is hopeful Juventus will reach the Champions League quarter-finals, although he admits they have a tough task ahead of them against Chelsea.

The Serie A side lost 1-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to give the Blues a slender advantage ahead of the return leg in Turin.

However, Buffon insists his team can progress.

''Of course I'm optimistic for the second leg,'' said the goalkeeper. ''That's Juve and hopefully we'll manage to recover a bit more physically. We have everything in place, all the qualities needed for something that wouldn't be a miracle but will be tough and that's the victory.''

Buffon was beaten in the 12th minute by Didier Drogba, who peeled away from his marker on the edge of the box before firing into the bottom left corner to score what was to prove the winner.

But the Juve stopper claims to be more disappointed his team could not score an all important away goal than the fact that he conceded.

''Drogba's goal was more lucky than good,'' said Buffon. ''I closed him down well but he managed to smash it in. We can't be happy with the result because even though it is one that we can turn around in the second leg.

''We came here with the conviction that we could score at least a goal tonight.''

Buffon admits Juve cannot have too many complaints about the result.

However, he feels that once the Bianconeri managed to get into the game they deserved a draw.

''You could say it was the right result,'' he added. ''That's how it finished and it's not like we can point at any type of misfortune or anything. But it's clear too that if we'd drawn it wouldn't have been a scandalous result - we played well, we only lacked a goal.''

The Italy goalkeeper is convinced his side can do the job in the return leg in two weeks' time and claims they have already pinpointed Chelsea's weak spots.

''Chelsea are a team whose skills are first class but I think they have a few problems in keeping the ball and in their rhythm and it's there that we have to try and play the game,'' he added.

Juve's defeat at Chelsea was the third Champions League match between Italian and English clubs this week, with Roma losing at Arsenal and Inter Milan being held to a goalless draw at home by Manchester United.

Buffon, however, believes Italy will have more teams than England in the quarter-finals.

''It's true that the Italian sides haven't managed to score against any of the English sides - that there hasn't been a goal in three games but that's also two away games,'' he said.

''It's not like it's gone badly, we've only lost 1-0 as did Roma and Inter drew. At the end the two teams that looking at the results are most likely to go through are us and Roma.''

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