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Wednesday, September 15, 1999 Published at 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK


Euro battle for British teams

Sutton and Vialli: Hoping to keep them smiling at Stamford Bridge

Rangers take on Valencia in Spain and Chelsea confront Italian giants AC Milan at home on Wednesday evening as British involvement in the Champions League continues on Wednesday.

On paper, Gianluca Vialli's men have the tougher task against Serie A champions Milan, although Rangers have been perennial underachievers in Europe - a reputation they are desperate to dispell.

Sutton starter

Chelsea's biggest problem could be seizing goalscoring chances - something that has not come easily to the Stamford Bridge side.

Gianfranco Zola and the £10m Chris Sutton have bagged just a goal apiece since the start of this Premiership campaign.

But both Zola and manager Gianluca Vialli have expressed confidence in Sutton and he is likely to get the nod for the starting line-up ahead of Tore Andre Flo.


[ image: Amedeo Carboni: The Vampire of Valencia]
Amedeo Carboni: The Vampire of Valencia
"Scoring-wise, the partnership has not been so effective so far, but we have still won four out of our first five games in the League and the whole team has been balanced and solid," said Zola.

"Of course we can do better - and we will do - but we should be satisfied at the moment."

Defensively, they are a much tighter outfit than last season having conceded only two goals, while new signing Didier Deschamps has added authority to the Blues' midfield.

Chelsea have limited experience at the highest level of European competition, despite their Cup Winners Cup win of 1998.

But players like Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps are seasoned campaigners.

Apart from Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea have a fully-fit squad to select from, while Milan will have to do without George Weah and Massimo Ambrosini who are suspended.

Rangers confident

Meanwhile, Rangers take on Valencia, who finished fourth in Spain's Liga last year.


BBC Scotland's Chick Young in Valencia: "Rangers' optimism is growing"
Apart from a good run in 1992/3, the Scottish champions have a shocking recent record in European competition.

But they go into their opening match off the back of a surprise win over Italy's Parma - the reigning Uefa Cup holders.

Manager Dick Advocaat looks to have instilled the self-belief and direction in the Rangers side that has been missing on previous sorties into Europe.

"It is important we go out there in every game with confidence," he said.

"We have that confidence at the moment as it comes with winning games. We know that Valencia have problems and they don't seem to have a good balance in the team.

"However they are a top quality club. They have to be as they are playing in the Champions League."

Carboni question

Rangers have only lost one game this season - 1-0 to Parma away - and they have shown oustanding early-season form.

One worry for the Ibrox side will be the likely inclusion of defender Amedeo Carboni, a player with one of the worst disciplinary records in the league.

He looks set to be recalled to the Valencia side, because Jocelyn Angloma is suffering from concussion.

Carboni - dubbed the Vampire of Valencia due to his reputation for drawing blood - will be marking Rangers strikers Gabriel Amato and Michael Mols.

But Amato says he is unconcerned by the Italian's hard-man reputation.

"Carboni is a very good player. He is very fast and very tough. But I am here to do a job if called on," he said.

"I am not worried about Carboni and his reputation. In fact perhaps he should worry about me."



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In this section

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Double blow for Rangers

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