Trabzon hosts CSKA Moscow in crucial Euro battle
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The Black Sea Storm is third with four points, but looked far from the side that was unbeaten in its first two matches
Trabzonspor is hoping to return to winning ways by stopping a red-hot CSKA Moscow side in its tracks tonight in the Champions League.
The Black Sea Storm is third with four points, but looked far from the side that was unbeaten in its first two matches in the top-level European football competition when it met CSKA a fortnight ago.
Trabzonspor surprisingly beat Inter Milan 1-0 and held French champion Lille to a 1-1 draw in its first two matches, but suffered a 3-0 rout at CSKA Moscow.
CSKA, who has also four points, sits second behind Inter, which has six points.
Since the 3-0 win in Moscow two weeks ago, CSKA has beaten Anzhi Makhachkala 5-3 and Spartak Nalchik 4-0 in the Russian league to remain second in the standings, two points behind leader Zenit St. Petersburg.
CSKA striker Seydou Doumbia, who scored twice against the Turkish side, went on to score two consecutive hat tricks in the next two games.
“I’m in perfect form and hope to continue scoring at the same tempo in the next matches,” the Ivory Coast forward said.
However, midfielder Yevgeny Aldonin insists that he and his teammates are not underestimating their opponents.
“It may seem from the scoreline that the game was an easy one, but it’s not true,” he said. “It will be even tougher in Turkey – the Turks will be on the attack and will play more aggressively. But this will give us good opportunities to counterattack.”
CSKA is still without injured first-choice goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and midfielder Keisuke Honda.
But there is good news in the Trabzonspor camp as forward Burak Yılmaz has finished his three-game suspension and will be available for selection.
Burak is the top-scorer in Turkey, scoring 11 goals in just nine matches since the start of the Turkish league campaign.
Yılmaz was suffering from a cold but will play against the Russians, Doğan News Agency reported.
“I have been waiting for this game for so long,” the Turkish international said.
Meanwhile, Inter hopes to put the misery of Serie A behind it when it hosts Lille.
Inter is languishing in 17th spot in the league after losing five of its nine games. However, it has enjoyed better success in the Champions League to sit atop of Group B.
“It’s a difficult period for the team but we’re working hard and we’ll get out of it,” striker Diego Milito said. “I’m sure we’ll have a great game tomorrow. It’s definitely better to be playing immediately to help us forget the championship for a bit. This team has always wanted to prove itself to still be a great team.”
Giampaolo Pazzini scored the only goal of the game to hand Inter victory when the two sides met in France two weeks ago, inflicting what was only Lille’s second defeat in all competitions this season.
Defeat for Inter may see the Italians lose the top spot.
Another loss for Lille would all but put it out of the reckoning for the knockout stages and leave Inter in pole position to progress.
“We now have a great chance to show that we are still alive,” Milito added. “We have to win the group.”
An additional AP story was used in this story.