MOSCOW - Coach Jose Mourinho believes playing on an artificial pitch will be like child's play for his Inter Milan team as they look to knock out CSKA Moscow in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.
The Serie A champions carry a 1-0 advantage from last week, when CSKA had keeper Igor Akinfeyev to thank for keeping their hopes alive with a series of fine saves.
"We know how we want to play there, aware of the difficulties regarding the opposition and the artificial pitch, which will be a first for everyone," Mourinho told the club's in-house TV channel.
"But I was joking with some of the players before, thinking of how we used to play in the road when we were children. If you can play in the road, I said, why can't you play on an artificial pitch too?"
CSKA's chances of overturning the deficit to become the first Russian side to reach the Champions League semi-finals have not been helped by the absence of suspended midfielders Milos Krasic and Yevgeny Aldonin.
But Krasic was confident CSKA's familiarity with the synthetic surface could swing the tie their way.
"Unfortunately I won't be able to help my team in Moscow but I think we still have a good chance, especially playing at home," the Serbia international, linked for a transfer to Inter's city rivals AC Milan, was quoted as saying by Russian media.
"I think the synthetic surface should give us a distinct edge. It could be our 12th man against Inter."
CSKA's city rivals Spartak made the last four of the old European Cup in 1991 but no Russian team has been able to match that feat in the Champions League.
The visitors will be confident after dominating the first leg and warming up for the second with a 3-0 win over Bologna in Serie A on Saturday.
They should be at full strength too.
Brazil centre back Lucio and his midfield compatriot Thiago Motta, who scored twice against Bologna, are available after serving suspensions last week.
Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder may well return to the starting lineup after resting on the bench for most of the Bologna match having taken an ankle knock in the first leg.
Mourinho's options also include 19-year-old forward Mario Balotelli, who scored on Saturday after spending a month on the sidelines following a row with the Portuguese manager.
CSKA should be well rested for Tuesday's clash after their league game against Zenit St Petersburg on Saturday was postponed because Moscow police could not provide sufficient safety at Luzhniki.
Police in the capital are on high alert following after more than 50 people were killed in last week's two bomb blasts on the Moscow metro.
CSKA Moscow: 35-Igor Akinfeyev; 24-Vasily Berezutsky, 6-Alexei Berezutsky, 4-Sergei Ignashevich, 42-Georgy Shchennikov; 2-Deividas Semberas, 18-Keisuke Honda, 10-Alan Dzagoyev, 11-Pavel Mamayev, 13-Mark Gonzalez; 89-Tomas Necid.
Inter Milan: 12-Julio Cesar; 13-Maicon, 6-Lucio, 25-Walter Samuel, 26-Cristian Chivu; 4-Javier Zanetti, 19-Esteban Cambiasso, 8-Thiago Motta; 10-Wesley Sneijder; 9-Samuel Eto'o, 22-Diego Milito.comments