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Pressure rising on CSKA Moskva

One game into the UEFA Champions League and Russian title-holders PFC CSKA Moskva are feeling the heat as they prepare to take on visitors Fenerbahçe SK in Group G.

One game into the UEFA Champions League and PFC CSKA Moskva are already feeling the heat as they attempt to put a string of disappointing results behind them with victory against Fenerbahçe SK in Group G.

Gazzaev hopeful
After CSKA kicked off on Matchday 1 with a defeat at PSV Eindhoven, then saw their hopes of reclaiming the Russian title slip away with Saturday's 2-1 loss at FC Zenit St. Petersburg, coach Valeri Gazzaev is looking for an improvement against the Turkish champions, particularly in front of goal. "Our ability to make the most of our chances will be very important in this match, as it always is," Gazzaev said. "We were excellent in St Petersburg but we couldn't take the clearest chances. The same thing happened at PSV. We were let down by a lack of ability, by rushing too much, by an absence of luck. As a result we didn't get the result we needed, but we're trying not to dwell on that. As long as we're making chances, we're playing well."

'Difficult opponent'
Fenerbahçe are yet to hit top form in Turkey's Süper Lig, though they showed what they are capable of when beating FC Internazionale Milano 1-0 a fortnight ago. With two games to follow for CSKA against the Italian champions, Gazzaev knows there is no margin for error. "Fenerbahçe have a lot of South American players and a Brazilian coach, so we understand their methods," he said. "They are experienced both individually and as a group, and they play quality, combination-based football. We face a difficult opponent."

Brazilian threat
Visiting coach Zico has picked out two of his compatriots as CSKA's biggest threats. "Vágner Love and Jô are CSKA's strongest line of attack," Zico said. "The most important thing is to stop CSKA scoring. We will base our tactics on that. We expect a very difficult match. We may be away from home but we will still be setting ourselves the task of getting all three points. The players will give everything to win." Zico also has words of encouragement for forward Mateja Kežman, who missed several opportunities in Saturday's 2-0 win against MKE Ankaragücü. "Kežman is having a difficult time," Zico said. "We're trying to support him and I've given him some special attention."

Final chance
Playmaker Daniel Carvalho may return to the CSKA squad, yet with no fresh injury concerns both teams are expected to name the same XIs that started on Matchday 1. Moscow will host the UEFA Champions League final across town at the Luzhniki Stadium on 21 May 2008, but if CSKA are to maintain local interest beyond the group stage for the first time, three points here could make all the difference. "We're only thinking about winning," Gazzaev said. "Last year I said we needed eight or nine points to qualify, and we didn't qualify even though we got eight. This time it is a very even group and eight or nine points should be enough."