CSKA Moscow’s Champions League Group G tie with Porto has been overshadowed by the death of coach Valeri Gazzaev’s younger brother, in a car crash on Saturday.
The tragedy occurred on the day that CSKA won the Premier-Liga for the third time in four seasons, and with the title in the bag all atttention can turn to European affairs.
A win would be enough to ensure CSKA’s place in the knockout stage for the first time, and Gazzaev has revealed that domestic celebrations have been postponed until after tonight’s tie.
“Winning the title will not affect us,” he said. “We have postponed our celebrations.?
“We have won the Russian league, but we know Porto are leading the Portuguese championship so the game will be between two very strong teams. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We only have one aim and that is to win and qualify from the group and we have every chance of doing so.”
CSKA are top of the group due to some sterling defensive work which has yet to concede after six European ties this campaign. Gazzaev may well field the same team that started the 0-0 draw at Arsenal 1, although Evgeni Aldonin could replace Milos Krasic in midfield.
Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira said his side would be playing to win tonight.
“It will be an open match,” he said. “Porto have been playing well so we’re coming here to fight for the three points. CSKA have a strong team but I am sure we can win this game.”
Bosingwa and Lisandro López are both fit to start despite picking up knocks in the 2-1 weekend win against Coimbra.
Igor Akinfeev; Sergei Ignashevich, Vasili Berezutskiy, Aleksei Berezutskiy; Deividas Šemberas, Elvir Rahimic, Miloc Krasic, Dudu, Yuri Zhirkov; Daniel Carvalho, Vágner Love.
Helton; Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Fucile; Paulo Assunçao, Raul Meireles, Lucho González; Ricardo Quaresma, Hélder Postiga, Lisandro López.