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Thursday, February 17, 2005 

CSKA Moskva - Benfica (Uefa Cup Preview)

PFC CSKA Moskva take on SL Benfica in the UEFA Cup on Thursday without several of the players who played in the UEFA Champions League group stage before the winter break.

Winter departures
Sergei Semak and Jiri Jarošik have departed from Paris Saint-Germain FC and Chelsea FC respectively, while Croatian striker Ivica Olic is still injured and Deividas Šemberas and Yuri Zhirkov are both suspended. "Our task is to learn to do well without the players who have left," said CSKA coach Valeri Gazzaev.

Key absentees
"Olic, Zhirkov and Šemberas are three key players who run the game for CSKA," Gazzaev added. "But still we have a good squad and there are players who can replace the ones who are absent. This is a chance for them to show their best qualities."

Miguel hope
Benfica are hoping that Miguel will be fit to face the Russian side, but coach Giovanni Trapattoni has already revealed that he will start with the same team which played against SC Braga on Sunday so the best the right-back can hope for is a place on the bench. Simão Sabrosa, Geovanni and Nuno Gomes will play up front.

Draw the target
Despite the attacking lineup, Trapattoni said that he would be pleased if his team came away from the trip to Russia with a draw. "The most important thing is not to lose this match and if we score a goal that will be very important," said the Italian coach.

'Growing as a team'
"This game is coming at a good time for us as the team is feeling very confident," Trapattoni continued. "We are growing as a team and improving our quality, attitude and personality. However, we must not forget that CSKA are a very good team with a lot of international players."

Source: Uefa.com


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