Manchester United has made the long journey to Russia to face CSKA Moscow on Matchday 2 in the Champions League.

By 90Min
September 26, 2017

Manchester United have made the long journey to Russia to face CSKA Moscow on matchday two of the 2017/18 Champions League group stage.

Jose Mourinho's team were comfortable 3-0 winners against Basel last time out, and another three points would put United well on course to reach the Last 16 already.


Classic Encounter

United have met CSKA on four previous occasions in the Champions League group stage, winning twice and drawing twice during the 2009/10 and 2015/16 seasons.

For inspiration, United will look back to October 2009 and their first ever game against the Russians. That fixture was played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the venue for United's 2008 Champions League triumph, and was decided by a single late goal from Antonio Valencia.

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Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Dimitar Berbatov, Anderson, Nani and Fabio were among United's starters that evening, while as many as five of the CSKA XI still remain with the club and are likely to be in the team on Wednesday, despite the passage of eight years.

Igor Akinfeev, Vasilli and Alexei Berezutski, Georgi Schennikov and Alan Dzagoev.


CSKA Lowdown

CSKA reached this stage of the competition by finishing second in the Russian Premier League last season and successfully navigating qualifying rounds against AEK Athens and Young Boys.

They have started the new domestic campaign in reasonable form, winning six of their opening 11 games and conceding only nine times, but already trail leaders Zenit St Petersburg by seven points and lie fourth also behind Lokomotiv Moscow and Krasnodar.

An impressive 2-1 win over Benfica in Lisbon on matchday should not to be ignored.


Key Battles

Romelu Lukaku vs The Berezutskis

European defenders don't come much more experienced than CSKA's 35-year-old Berezutski twins, Vasilli and Alexei, and Romelu Lukaku will have to outmanoeuvre and outmuscle them to get his name on the score-sheet for the second Champions League game running.

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan vs Pontus Wernbloom

Ball winning Swedish midfielder Pontus Wernbloom fills a similar role in the CSKA team as Nemanja Matic does for United. It will therefore be his job to stop creative maestro Henrikh Mkhitaryan from finding space in the final third.

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Team News

CSKA Moscow: Marauding wing-back Mario Fernandes is not expected to play as a result of a knock he sustained at the weekend and will be a big miss for the home side. Attacking midfielder Aleksandr Golovin is likely to be involved after returning from a domestic suspension.

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Man Utd: Both Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick will be absent, joining Paul Pogba on the sidelined and leaving Mourinho with limited midfield options. Phil Jones is also set to miss out, which will see Chris Smalling or Victor Lindelof partner Eric Bailly, available after suspension.

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Probable Lineups

CSKA Moscow (3-4-3): Akinfeev; Vasin, V. Berezutski, A. Berezutski; Nababkin, Wernbloom, Natkho, Schennikov; Dzagoev, Vitinho, Golovin

Man Utd (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Lindelof, Blind; Herrera, Matic; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Martial; Lukaku


Prediction

CSKA will offer a different kind of challenge than United faced at home against Basel on matchday one. The visitors have a handful of injuries to contend with, but squad depth should ensure that Mourinho is able to name a team strong enough to win the game anyway.

CSKA Moscow 1-2 Manchester United

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