Tuesday, December 11, 2007

UEFA Match Day: Fenerbahce vs. CSKA Moscow

UEFA Match Day: Fenerbahce vs. CSKA Moscow
By Nathan L. Redd

Wednesday could become "History Day" in Kadikoy if all goes as planned. Fenerbahce has a chance to advance to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in club history. While celebrations in Istanbul will be planned throughout the night, CSKA Moscow has other plans. Although eliminated from UEFA Champions League, the Russian side has a chance to change their fate with a gigantic upset at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.

CSKA Moscow's Russian domestic league season has ended, and it will be interesting to see which team shows up Wednesday. Fans hope the Russian side puts their past behind them and plays as if this is their European championship. On the other hand, a disappointing year could get worse as turmoil seems to have settled with some of the team's top players. It will be a tremendous task to beat Fenerbahce in Kadikoy.

Fenerbahce Boss Zico is careful not to let his players celebrate prematurely. While advancing to the next round seems probable, several scenarios still have to play out for the Yellow Canaries. Simply put, if they win, they're in. However, a draw would have them relying on either a draw or loss by PSV Eindhoven. PSV hosts group champs Inter Milan in Holland on Wednesday. Zico is eager to remind his guys that while Fener is significantly more talented on paper, CSKA played them to a 2-2 draw earlier this year in Moscow. He's hoping the draw in Russia will keep his players from taking anything for granted.

Carvalho, Jo, and Vagner Love all played a significant role in CSKA's first leg against Fenerbahce. Now, all three are out for the last match and reports in Moscow indicate the Brasilian trio could be leaving Moscow permanently during the break. Vasily Berezutsky is also out for CSKA, while Elvir Rahimic, Yuri Zirkov and Dudu are all suspended for the match. Tumer Metin is out for Fenerbahce and Stephen Appiah's status is listed as questionable. Serdar Kulbilge is still out with a knee injury, while Deniz Baris is questionable with a groin injury. Gokcek Vederson is also battling the flu and his status is not known.

Fenerbahce and CSKA Moscow kick it off at 21:45 (2:45 PM EST in the U.S.) live from Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Kadikoy. The game is available live on pay-per-view from UEFA.com.

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