Celta de Vigo handicapped in Amsterdam

Celta de Vigo arrived in Amsterdam without a few important players on Tuesday. Brazilian midfielder Vágner did not pass the last medical test on the training in Spain and was left behind. His fellow countryman, righthalf Edu and Argentinian international Gustavo López are also injured. José Ignacio is sidenlined as well with a suspension. All this worried coach Miguel Ángel Lotina on the traditional press conference on Tuesday.

Missing Vágner is a real problem for the Spanish team where former Ajax players Mido and Benni McCarthy once played. De Brazilian was for the past weeks one of the few good midfielders for Celta de Vigo. ,,We have come to Amsterdam with an incomplete squad, but that's something you have to deal with. Now it is an important player like Vágner, next week it might be someone else. It is just a pity that this has happened the entire season”, said a disappointed Ángel Lotina.

According to the web site of Celta de Vigo, Everton Giovanella, normally a bench player, will probably take Vágner's spot in midfield. The site also reports that not Argentinian Cavallero will be the goalkeeper against Ajax, but Manuel Pinto, who was benched last Saturday against Real Madrid. Coach Ángel Lotina verified the report on the press conference.

Ángel Lotina was fairly open about his line-up for Wednesday evening. ,,I don't think we have much choice”, he referred to the many absent starters. ,,My line-up will not be much different from the one against Real Madrid. The open spots you can fill in yourselves, I think.”

Ajax can assume that Celta de Vigo will start with the following players. Goal: Pinto. Defence: Velasco, Caceres, Benizzo, Sylvinho. Defensive midfielders: Luccin and Giovanella. Offensive midfielders: Jesuli, Mostovoi and Juanfran. The striker is Milosevic.

The most important players in the squad: Juanfran (left midfield), Alexander Mostovoi (Russian central midfielder) and the Yougoslavian top scorer of Euro 2000, Savo Milosevic.

What also became clear on Tuesday evening, was that the match is of great importance to the Spanish club. Celta de Vigo are having a difficult time in the Primera División. The team is fourth from the bottom, with six points from seven matches.

Since the start of the season, Celta de Vigo have won only once. At home against Valladolid the 'Skyblues' won with 3-2 on September 28. The other six matches ended in three losses and three draws. Coach Ángel Lotina has only the UEFA Champions League to mask the poor league results. ,,The team needs confidence. You get that by winning. We have to try to forget the league results and last Saturday's match against Real Madrid (0-2 loss). Tomorrow we can rediscover the right way against a great opponent such as Ajax.”

Celta is in third place in Group H, but haven't lost yet. In a hard match in Brugges with two red cards and no less than eight yellows, Celta just missed a win in the final minutes of their first-ever UEFA Champions League match. In the 84th minute a shot by Club Brugge substitute Saeternes went in off the leg of Spanish international Juanfran: 1-1. Two weeks later Celta drew again. In their own Balaídos stadium the Spanish side, despite the many chances for the Galicians, could not get further than 0-0 against AC Milan. 'Unfortunately', two of the players who failed regularly before Milan-goalkeeper Dida, cannot play on Wednesday: Vagner and Ángel Lopez.