Trabzonspor coach Senol Gunes has challenged his squad to build on their thrilling start to the UEFA Champions League by taking 4 points from their back-to-back match CSKA Moskva Vs Trabzonspor. In their first tilt at the Champions League, after being called in to replace scandal-hit Fenerbahce, Trabzonspor have started by beating Inter Milan at the San Siro and drawing at home against French champions Lille.
They face CSKA tomorrow evening in the Russian capital, where temperatures are expected to dip close to freezing, and then again in Trabzon on 2 November. Should they reach 8 points after those games they'll be handily placed to push for a place in the knock-out stage.
Gunes, who comebacks to the bench after a two-game touchline ban, told todayszaman.com: "We have never played our opponent before. But we know for sure that they are a good team. If we win, that will be a great advantage for us in the group. If we lose, then we will fall behind. Simply put, if in CSKA Moskva Vs Trabzonspor match we can draw there and win at home in Istanbul, then we'll earn 4 points and that's what we're looking for."
CSKA have dropped to second place in the Russian league behind Zenit St Petersburg after winning just twice in ten games, while Trabzonspor have made a mixed start to the Turkish season, taking 11 points from their opening six matches, and leaking late goals has been a problem. Trabzonspor won at the weekend against Ankaragucu while CSKA were held at home by Terek Grozny after throwing away a two-goal lead.
At least CSKA have been able to count on striker Seydou Doumbia for goals, with eight in nine games his running total. Trabzonspor have their own prolific marksman, but Burak Yilmaz has been suspended in European competition since his red card against Athletic Bilbao in the Champions League play-offs, and serves the final game of his ban tomorrow. CSKA head coach Leonid Slutski said: "Burak is a very good striker of course, but Trabzonspor have won four points without him."
Slutski is expected to be without midfielder Sekou Oliseh, who suffered a hamstring injury in training last week, but has indicated he will look again at the Liberian midfielder's fitness tomorrow. CSKA have drawn with Lille and lost to Inter Milan so far in this European campaign, but defender Kirill Nababkin still holds out hope of a top-two finish in Group B. Nababkin said on uefa.com: "In CSKA Moskva Vs Trabzonspor match We're playing at home, so we need to win. "We have our backs against the wall, but we're still capable of progressing from the group."