On target last week in Chelsea FC's 3-1 first-leg defeat of FC Rubin Kazan, Victor Moses says the Blues hope to land another early blow against the Russian side to kill off the tie and rubber-stamp their place in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.
Rafael Benítez's team took a firm grip on the last-eight encounter with two goals in the first 32 minutes, Moses scoring the second with a well-executed half-volley from the edge of the penalty area. While the west London outfit arrive at Moscow's Stadion Luzhniki – scene of their 2008 UEFA Champions League final penalty shoot-out loss to Manchester United FC – in a position of strength, the forward insists they have travelled with only one outcome in mind: another victory.
"We're here to try to win the game. They have good strikers and they will be in our faces from the start," said the 22-year-old. "We just need to get our noses in front and try to win the game. It won't be an easy task but we're looking forward to it. If we can score an early goal that will be great for us."
One area of concern for Chelsea is at left-back, with Ashley Cole (hamstring) and understudy Ryan Bertrand (virus) unavailable. Paulo Ferreira or 18-year-old Nathan Aké, who has made a single senior start for the club, could deputise, while David Luiz has also been touted for a return to the back four, albeit in a relatively unfamiliar position.
"David Luiz has played at left-back so maybe he can be an option," said Benítez. "I have an idea, but we will train today, see how everything is and after that we will decide. I don't think it would be a big problem for Aké if he has to play."
For Rubin, all is not yet lost. Outplayed at Stamford Bridge a week ago, they assume the role of hosts – albeit in the more unfamiliar confines of the Luzhniki – still very much in the tie. "At this point Chelsea have an advantage, a good head start, but we will try to do everything to progress," said coach Kurban Berdyev.
"Apart from [Yann] M'Vila and [Aleksei] Eremenko, all our players are in good shape and ready to play. There is no special need to motivate my players to play in the Europe League. The more matches we play at the Stadion Luzhniki, the more comfortable we feel here. We hope the fans from Kazan will come to support us tomorrow – we also have fans in Moscow – but Chelsea are Chelsea and we are ready to play them regardless."
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