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Lokomotiv's Ozdoev looks to end 2011 on a high

Magomed Ozdoev told UEFA.com FC Lokomotiv Moskva are eager to avenge a 2-0 home defeat by RSC Anderlecht and provide a stirring finale to a great year for the teenager.

Magomed Ozdoev is enjoying an exceptional breakthrough year at Lokomotiv
Magomed Ozdoev is enjoying an exceptional breakthrough year at Lokomotiv ©Getty Images

It has already been quite a year for FC Lokomotiv Moskva midfielder Magomed Ozdoev. The 19-year-old has seized a regular berth in the Railway Boys side and won his first Russia Under-21 cap but there may yet be a final flourish.

Lokomotiv go into their last UEFA Europa League Group L game trailing section leaders RSC Anderlecht by three points, having lost 2-0 at home to the Belgian club earlier in the campaign, and Ozdoev told UEFA.com: "We want to avenge the defeat in September. To go top we have to win by a big margin [scoring at least three goals]. It is important to finish in first place, so we want to be at our best in Belgium."

With the winter break in Russia's one-off 18-month season already begun, Ozdoev – a gifted defensive midfielder with excellent passing skills and football intelligence beyond his years – is exhorting Lokomotiv to make one last push before signing off for 2011. "The mood in the camp is excellent as we approach our final game and hopefully we will take the upper hand," he said. "Of course we are a bit tired but that is normal. I am sure we will be 100% ready for Anderlecht."

Loko boss José Couceiro is without four key players in Brussels – midfielders Dmitri Loskov and Dmitri Tarasov are injured while fellow middle man Senijad Ibričić and right-back Roman Shishkin are suspended – and Ozdoev acknowledges that Anderlecht can be daunting opponents at the best of times. "They are strong on the counterattack as we learned to our cost," he said, adding of six-goal UEFA Europa League top scorer Matías Suárez: "He is a very skilful, speedy striker and it is no accident he is leading the scoring charts."

Already qualified for the round of 32, Lokomotiv – sixth in the Premier-Liga – will have a short winter holiday before congregating for a training camp in Portugal on 9 January. Ozdoev, who recently agreed to extend his Lokomotiv contract until 2015, has made plans. "I am going home to Ingushetia on Sunday," said a player with 23 top-flight appearances to his name. "I will spend my spare time with my family and friends. It is a kind of tradition. I don't want to spend my time off on some beach."

Winner of the 2011 award for most promising youngster in the Russian Premier League, Ozdoev has certainly earned a relaxing break and will have much to reflect on when he flies south to the Caucasus, where he was a trainee with FC Angusht Nazran before FC Terek Grozny, FC Dynamo Kyiv and then – in February 2010 – Lokomotiv took him on. "I have had more positives than negatives this year, even though I was out injured for two months and couldn't always get in the first team," he said. "It has all ended well. It was a test of my maturity, a spur to work harder. You have to be ready for anything in football."