Tuesday, 22 October 2013

UEFA Champions League: CSKA Moscow vs Manchester City - Preview

UEFA Champions League: CSKA Moscow vs Manchester City - Preview

UEFA Champions League: CSKA Moscow vs Manchester City - Preview
Moscow: English giants Manchester City will be looking to take a stranglehold on second place in their Champions League group by winning their second successive away match in this season`s competition at out of form CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

The 2012 Premier League champions and runners-up last season to Manchester United had only won one of their six away matches in their previous two campaigns, but got off to a winning start this term at Viktoria Pilsen.

A subsequent defeat to group leaders and Champions League holders Bayern Munich -- who also beat CSKA -- in Manchester reflected how far Manuel Pelligrini`s side has to go to be a viable challenger.

However, even reaching the knockout stage would represent a marked improvement on their two campaigns under former boss Roberto Mancini, both times failing to reach the second round.

They go into the game against a CSKA side who are goalless and winless in their last five league matches, boosted also by their first away win in the Premier League this season with a comprehensive 3-1 win at West Ham.

Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero scored either side of half-time while also setting up a late goal for David Silva which put them just three points off leaders Arsenal.

"Now we play four games in a row away so it is the best moment, first to win away against West Ham and then to repeat the triumph we had against Pilsen in the Champions League," said Pellegrini.

Pelligrini, who hopes captain Belgian central defender Vincent Kompany will be fit to play, is more concerned about the state of the pitch in Moscow, which saw their first home game having to be played in St Petersburg because their pitch was deemed unplayable.

"We don`t know what the conditions of the (Khimki arena) pitch will be," Pellegrini said.

"We hope that UEFA allowed them to play the game there because it`s a good pitch."

However, the recent report of the UEFA delegate, who has inspected the condition of the pitch, said that it was now good enough to play on.

As if CSKA didn`t have enough of a task ahead of them they will have to confront City without several key players, Brazilian defender Mario Fernandez, Latvian midfielder Aleksandrs Cauna and Russian international playmaker Alan Dzagoev are all injured.

Meanwhile, their Ivory Coast international striker Seydou Doumbia, who came on as a late substitute in Friday`s 2-0 defeat against Zenit St-Petersburg, is still not at his best having just recovered from a back injury.

First choice goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev missed the league match because of a swollen knee but CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky said he was hoping he would be able to play on Wednesday. AFP -----------------

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