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Wednesday, September 29, 2004 

CSKA Moskva - PSG (CL Preview)

PFC CSKA Moskva will look to put the disappointment of their weekend defeat by rivals FC Lokomtiv Moskva behind them by building on their confident start in the UEFA Champions League with a victory against Paris Saint-Germain FC.

'Everyone is healthy'
Coach Valeriy Gazzaev insists that Saturday's 1-0 loss will not affect his second-placed side, who are looking for success on both domestic and European fronts. "We are getting down to business," he said. "It was an even game and Lokomotiv were a bit luckier than us, plus striker Vágner Love did not feel well on the day of that match. Now everyone is healthy and ready to play."

'Different side'
Gazzaev also played down claims that his side might take PSG lightly after their poor start to the season. "PSG have a good squad and despite their recent form we take them with all possible seriousness," he said. "Domestic leagues and the Champions League are two different things and I am quite sure that PSG will be a different side on Wednesday."

'Huge will'
After opening their Group H campaign with a 0-0 draw away to European champions FC Porto, the Moscow side are full of confidence. "We have a huge will to qualify from this group, and I am happy to see that the players are doing all they can to fulfil their potential," Gazzaev said. "I am grateful to Lokomotiv for letting us use their ground for Champions League games and we will do everything possible to please the fans who I hope will pack the stadium."

Odiah suspended
CSKA are without suspended Nigerian international Chidi Odiah, who is expected to be replaced by Rolan Gusev on the right. Gusev will be looking to make the most of his chance to break out of a recent dip in form, while Yuri Zhirkov, who is serving a five-match domestic suspension, is likely to come in for Osmar Ferreyra on the left.

'Looking to win'
PSG's 1-0 win against RC Strasbourg on Saturday was their first of the season, and after being comprehensively beaten 3-0 at home by Chelsea on Matchday 1, coach Vahid Halilhodzic is hoping that his side's improved form will carry over into Europe. "After a poor start in the league I tried to calm the players down and help them gain some form," he said. "CSKA are favourites here, but after losing to Chelsea we will be looking to win."

'Doing better'
Halilhodzic admitted, however, that given the circumstances a draw would be acceptable. "A draw will satisfy us, but if we win it will be a psychological boost both for our home and European games in the future," he said. "After the win against Strasbourg the players are doing better and I hope this trend continues."

Rothen out
Halilhodzic is without injured playmaker Jérôme Rothen, who has not even travelled to Moscow, but his players are upbeat none the less, believing that the worst is behind them. Captain José Pierre-Fanfan, however, warned that CSKA strikers Love and Ivica Olic could make life very difficult for the Parisian side in Moscow.

'Strong opponent'
"CSKA are very strong opponents, their [third qualifying round] victory against Rangers FC in the third qualifying round says a lot," he said. "They have an athletic defence and two strong strikers. The draw against Porto was actually quite a bad result for them - CSKA had every chance to pick up all three points."

Source: Uefa.com

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