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Carvalho comeback gives CSKA hope

PFC CSKA Moskva coach Valeri Gazzaev has been lifted by Daniel Carvalho's return as his team welcome an FC Internazionale Milano outfit with defensive problems.

PFC CSKA Moskva are not in the best of positions, sitting bottom of UEFA Champions League Group G with their Russian title all but lost. But coach Valeri Gazzaev remains upbeat as they prepare to welcome FC Internazionale Milano.

Carvalho return
A late Fenerbahçe SK equaliser three weeks ago left CSKA on one point from two games, given they lost their opener 2-1 at PSV Eindhoven. Inter recovered from their defeat in Turkey to beat PSV 2-0, leaving CSKA two points adrift at the bottom. Yet Gazzaev has been given fresh hope: playmaker Daniel Carvalho made his first start after seven months out with a knee injury in Saturday's 1-0 win at FC Tom Tomsk, while goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is training and nearing a comeback from knee ligament damage.

'Mood is good'
Gazzaev said: "This is the first time this season when all the lads have been fit, except for Chidi Odiah. Igor Akinfeev is training with the team every day and the boys appreciate his presence and support. I hope we will see him in action this year. I am concerned about Vágner Love because he was absent on international duty and played two tough matches, but we will examine him closely. Daniel Carvalho had a good 70 minutes at Tomsk. Generally, the mood is good and there are no problems."

That is not to say Gazzaev is taking the Italian champions lightly. "Inter have been the leaders of Serie A in recent years," he added. "They have a good squad and are a hard team to break down." However, Russian football has been boosted by the 2-1 defeat of England in Moscow last week and CSKA captain Sergei Ignashevich, who took part in that match as well as the victory at Tomsk, said: "I have plenty of positive feelings. I hope these good feelings will help us against Inter."

Defensive woes
Inter maintained their three-point Serie A lead with a 1-0 success at Reggina Calcio on Saturday, and they have Iván Córdoba and Julio Cruz back from suspensions picked up in last season's game at Valencia CF. However, Córdoba's fellow defenders Maicon and Nicolás Burdisso still have one and four matches respectively to serve from their bans, while Cristian Chivu and David Suazo were sent off against PSV and also miss out. Marco Materazzi remains sidelined by a thigh injury, Dejan Stanković is a doubt and Zlatan Ibrahimović, the two-goal hero against PSV, is struggling with illness. On the plus side: Patrick Vieira returned to the midfield against Reggina after shaking off a hamstring strain.

'Crucial contest'
Coach Roberto Mancini said: "This is a crucial game for us, although it's often like that in the Champions League. In the domestic league you can afford to make a mistake, while here every match can turn out to be decisive. Ibrahimović had flu but should be fine – we will decide on Tuesday about him. Stanković is struggling with a slight foot problem and we will also see how he is. But we are used to not having everyone available and we will try to make the best of what we have."