Russia is one of the coldest countries in the world and Jose Mourinho is taking nothing for granted as his team prepares to face CSKA Moscow tonight in adverse weather temperatures for their first leg Champions League knockout stage fixture.
In his pre-match press conference with reporters yesterday, the Portuguese tactician singled out the artificial turf and the -10 degree Celcius temperature as the factors that could give his team a hard time.
“We will have to be stronger than the conditions, which are difficult and different,” Mourinho said.
“Synthetic [pitch] is not the same as natural [pitch]. Minus 10 degrees is not the same as 10 degrees. We must be at the top of our game to overcome these factors.”
Mourinho is expected to play with a 4-3-2-1 formation with Brazilian Kaka expected to start along side Ozil and Ronaldo in Midfield. Benzema will play as the lone striker while Madrid’s defense will include Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos and Marcelo. Alonso and Khedira will play just in front of them as the two holding midfielders.
Mourinho’s opposite number Leonid Slutsky has opted for a 4-3-2-1 formation with Doumbia as the lone striker. Playing right behind Doumbia are Oliseh, Dzagoev and Musa. Wembloom and Aldonin with play as the anchor men while the defense will be made up of A Bere’ski, V Bere’ski, Igna’vich and Schennikov. In goal for CSKA is Chepchugov.
Madrid come go into this match as hot favourites and judging by their past performances in the league, this should just be another day in the office for them.
That said, it would be very presumptuous to think that they will win. Not only will they be up against harsh weather conditions, but playing away is never easy for any team.
In spite of all this i still stick by them to go all the way. In fact, i will go a step further and say that this trophy will either go to Spain or Italy. You will know my exact choices after tomorrow.
So what will the scoreline look like after 90 minutes? I see a 3-1 win in favour of Madrid. But as i always say, this is football and anything can happen.
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