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Determined CSKA eye further glory

Published: Tuesday 21 November 2006, 3.47CET
Valeri Gazzaev insists Saturday's title success will not distract PFC CSKA Moskva from the matter in hand as FC Porto arrive in Russia for a crucial Group G fixture.
by Michael Harrold
from Moscow

Tournament statistics

CSKA MoskvaPorto

Goals scored4
Attempts on target19
Attempts off target25
Fouls committed96
Yellow cards15
Red cards0
Published: Tuesday 21 November 2006, 3.47CET

Determined CSKA eye further glory

Valeri Gazzaev insists Saturday's title success will not distract PFC CSKA Moskva from the matter in hand as FC Porto arrive in Russia for a crucial Group G fixture.

PFC CSKA Moskva's UEFA Champions League Group G tie with FC Porto has been overshadowed by the death of coach Valeri Gazzaev's younger brother Ruslan, who was killed in a car accident on Saturday, the day CSKA retained the Russian title. A sombre Gazzaev agreed to meet with the media as scheduled on Monday, and though journalists had been requested not to ask him about the tragedy, thoughts were with the coach, who will travel to Vladikavkaz after the match for the funeral, and his family.

Celebrations postponed
CSKA triumphed 4-0 at FC Luch-Energia Vladivostok to win the Premier-Liga for the third time in four seasons, and with domestic duties out of the way, attention shifted to Europe. With victory enough to ensure CSKA's place in the knockout stage for the first time, Gazzaev insisted Saturday's success would not distract his charges from the matter in hand. "Winning the title will not affect us," he said. "We have postponed our celebrations.

'One aim'
"We have won the Russian league, but we know Porto are leading the Portuguese championship so the game will be between two very strong teams. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. We only have one aim and that is to win and qualify from the group and we have every chance of doing so."

Porto rise
These sides were drawn in the same group two seasons ago, with Porto going through at CSKA's expense. This time it is CSKA who hold pole position, but there is still everything to play for with Porto and Arsenal FC just one point back with two games remaining. Porto were held to a goalless draw by CSKA on Matchday 1 yet have since come alive, registering seven goals in two wins against Hamburger SV.

Ignashevich back
In contrast CSKA have scored just twice, but are top courtesy of a superb defence that is still to concede after six European ties this campaign. Gazzaev welcomes the return of captain Sergei Ignashevich, sidelined on Saturday by a knee complaint, and with striker Jô still out, he could field the same team that started the stalemate at Arsenal FC on 1 November. One change in midfield could be Evgeni Aldonin for Miloš Krasić.

Clement conditions
It was -11C when Porto prevailed 1-0 here two years ago, and coach Jesualdo Ferreira said his side would be playing to win whatever the weather. The Portuguese Liga leaders, as replete with Brazilians as CSKA, are likely to be spared the worst of the Russian winter though, with a comparatively clement 0C forecast for Tuesday.

'Strong team'
Bosingwa and Lisandro López are both fit to start despite picking up knocks in the 2-1 weekend win against A. Académica de Coimbra and Ferreira has no fresh injuries to concern him. "It will be an open match," he said. "Porto have been playing well so we're coming here to fight for the three points. CSKA have a strong team but I am sure we can win this game."

Probable teams
CSKA: Igor Akinfeev; Sergei Ignashevich, Vasili Berezutskiy, Aleksei Berezutskiy; Deividas Šemberas, Elvir Rahimić, Miloš Krasić/Evgeni Aldonin, Dudu, Yuri Zhirkov; Daniel Carvalho, Vágner Love.

Porto: Helton; Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Fucile; Paulo Assunção, Raul Meireles, Lucho González; Ricardo Quaresma, Hélder Postiga, Lisandro López.

Last updated: 21/11/06 21.47CET