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Euro master Shevchenko boosts Chelsea

The Ukrainian, who tasted Champions League glory with AC Milan in 2003, played in the FA Cup win after missing 11 games with a back problem.
By HT Correspondent | AFP, Greece
UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2008 04:02 PM IST

Veteran European campaigner Andriy Shevchenko is hoping to spearhead Chelsea's assault on Olympiakos in the Champions League second round first leg clash here on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian, who tasted Champions League glory with AC Milan in 2003, played in the FA Cup win over Huddersfield on Saturday after missing 11 games with a back problem.

Shevchenko's return, and that of fit-again captain John Terry, will provide coach Avram Grant with a timely boost ahead of the match in Greece.

"I felt very fit, and then I suffered an injury," said Shevchenko who hadn't played since December 26 when he scored twice in a 4-4 draw with Aston Villa.

"My game was getting much better and then again, another injury. I understand this is life, but it's important to be involved in the team. I try to help the team, and give my contribution."

Olympiakos coach Takis Lemonis is confident that his team will show 'another face' in the tie.

The 48-year-old was not happy with the way his team performed Saturday in the domestic league where they scraped a 1-0 victory at home over rock bottom Ergotelis.

"I had asked the players to finish the match early so we can rest for the match against Chelsea which is very important to us," said Lemonis whose team lead the Greek championship.

"But we have played badly in the Greek league before European matches in the past and have managed to come back. I am sure we will show a different face on Tuesday."

Olympiakos couldn't practice outdoors yesterday due to a snowstorm which hit most of Greece so Lemonis took the opportunity to show videos of Chelsea matches.

One of the few players to stand out against Ergotelis was Argentine forward Luciano Galletti.

"We did not have a good match against Ergotelis, but we got what we wanted, a victory," said Galletti. "Now our mind is on Chelsea."

Lemonis is facing a couple of injury problems with star defender Tasos Pantos to be replaced by newcomer Brazilian Leonardo while striker Lomana LuaLua, formerly of Newcastle and Portsmouth, is also a doubtful starter.

But in Serbian striker Darko Kovacevic, Olympiakos have the Greek league's top scorer with 15 goals.

The match will be played at sold-out Karaiskaki Stadium which was covered with snow on Sunday and the temperature expected at game time on Tuesday will be near zero.

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