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Lucescu seeks solution to CSKA conundrum

Published: Thursday 19 March 2009, 8.40CET
Mircea Lucescu maintained that he has "a squad capable of solving even the most difficult problems" as FC Shakhtar Donetsk head into their UEFA Cup decider against PFC CSKA Moskva 1-0 and one key defender down.
by Igor Linnyk & Dmitri Rogovitski
Lucescu seeks solution to CSKA conundrum
Shakhtar are ready to 'make things tough' for CSKA ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

Shakhtar DonetskCSKA Moskva

Goals scored14
 
19
Attempts on target49
 
40
Attempts off target41
 
32
Corners46
 
38
Offsides29
 
16
Fouls committed164
 
115
Yellow cards17
 
23
Red cards0
1

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Published: Thursday 19 March 2009, 8.40CET

Lucescu seeks solution to CSKA conundrum

Mircea Lucescu maintained that he has "a squad capable of solving even the most difficult problems" as FC Shakhtar Donetsk head into their UEFA Cup decider against PFC CSKA Moskva 1-0 and one key defender down.

Coach Mircea Lucescu maintains that he has "a squad capable of solving even the most difficult problems" as FC Shakhtar Donetsk head into their UEFA Cup decider against PFC CSKA Moskva a goal and one key defender down.

No self-pity
Beaten 1-0 in the Round of 16 first leg in Moscow, Shakhtar's task at the RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium has been made tougher by the suspension of first-choice centre-back Dmytro Chygrynskiy, though the Ukrainian champions' Romanian boss is not about to give in to self-pity. "Despite all our problems and Chygrynskiy's suspension, Shakhtar have a squad capable of solving even the most difficult problems," he said.

Recent success
Lucescu has overturned a 1-0 deficit to win a European tie as recently as August 2007, when Shakhtar defeated FC Salzburg 3-1 at home to settle a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round encounter. A 3-0 victory over fellow UEFA Cup contenders FC Metalist Kharkiv last weekend is further cause for confidence ahead of this second bout between the one-time Soviet Supreme League rivals.

'Morale boost'
"In Kharkov, we were head and shoulders above Metalist and deserved to win," said Lucescu after the success which took them up to second place in the Premier League, albeit 12 points behind leaders FC Dynamo Kyiv. "We got a great morale boost before the CSKA game, but they did too by winning 3-0 [at FC Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast] on the first day of the Russian season."

Raţ recovered
Defender Răzvan Raţ did not get the chance to atone for the penalty he conceded which enabled Vágner Love to give CSKA the lead in Moscow, as he was rested against Metalist. "I was pretty down after the CSKA match, but everyone makes mistakes and now my worries are behind me," said Raţ. "We must push ourselves to the limit. Me and the team are ready for that. We will make things tough for CSKA but it won't be easy for us either."

CSKA absentees
CSKA coach Zico will be without suspended winger Yuri Zhirkov and injured holding midfielder Elvir Rahimić, but Evgeni Aldonin is available. The UEFA Cup's top scorer Vágner Love should be sharp after being rested against Saturn, while midfielder Miloš Krasić was used sparingly. "Vágner picked up a minor knock in the Russian Super Cup so I gave him an opportunity to rest and recuperate so he would be at his best against Shakhtar," explained Zico. "Krasić played 15 minutes because I wanted him to rest too and not lose momentum. He should be 100 per cent ready for Shakhtar."

Last updated: 19/03/09 21.25CET

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