UEFA Europa League Preview: US Palermo – CSKA Moscow

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UEFA Europa League Preview: US Palermo – CSKA Moscow
Army Men’s perfect record
CSKA Moscow go into this fixture with a perfect record and a win tonight will seal their berth in the next round. Should CSKA manage to win, and Sparta Prague fail to win against Lausanne Sports, Koni will cement the first position in the group with two games to spare.
The Russian giants have won all their group matches by a 3 – 0 score line, such has been their form in Europe. Leonid Slutsky’s men thrashed Palermo 3 – 0 in Sicily a fortnight ago and confidence is sky-high in the Army Men’s camp. Palermo is a highly talented side and such a result against them has earned CSKA the 'title favourites' tag in recent weeks.
Slutsky is not taking anything for granted and indeed he has warned his men against complacency, “Palermo did not play as well as they could have in Italy. But they are still a serious, valid and strong team – We cannot underestimate them”.
Sicilians desperate for three points
Rosanero currently stand third in the group with three points following three rounds of football. The Sicilians made a bright start to their season but things have changed ever since. CSKA thrashed them 3 – 0 in their own backyard a fortnight ago while Aquile have lost their last two Serie A matches as well.
To make matters worse, Palermo have fared poorly on their continental travels. Rosanero have lost both their away games in Europe. There is still little room for optimism as the club will be without several key players for this trip. Pajtim Kasami however, is confident his team would conquer the frost of Moscow to get a result.
He said,"CSKA is a great team and we will have to be focused from start to finish. We need to give our best to try to take home a win.''
Team News
CSKA Moscow
The Russians are without any significant injury worries. Coach Slutsky will be delighted to have a clean bill of health.
US Palermo
Delio Rossi will be without a host of first team players for this match. Argentine Sensation Javier Pastore, Josip Ilicic, Abel Hernandez and Armin Bacinovic will all miss the trip to Moscow. Palermo have seemingly lost interest in the secondary European competition and will give the club second string players a run-in. On a positive note, Club talisman Fabrizio Miccoli will return from his lengthy injury absence and will start the match.
Key Players
Fabrizio Miccoli
Miccoli will lead the line for the Sicilians and in absence of many first team players; the diminutive forward will have to deliver the goods for his side.
Keisuke Honda
Honda was a revelation last season following his transfer from J League. The player has failed to hit the same heights this time around but remains an outrageous talent. The playmaker will look to make the most of Rosanero’s miseries.
CSKA inflicted a home defeat on a full strength Aquile two weeks ago and against the same opposition, little will change tonight. Palermo are yet to win away from home in Europe this season and tonight will certainly be not their day. CSKA to win by a 2 – 0 score line!



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