FC Internazionale Milano will aim to scratch a seven-year itch when they take on PFC CSKA Moskva in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
• Inter have not featured in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals since 2003 but their unbeaten home record this season should ensure José Mourinho’s men enter this contest confident of taking a step closer to the last four.
• If Inter can draw further confidence from the manner of their impressive last-16 defeat of Chelsea FC, so Leonid Slutsky’s CSKA will take heart from some fine displays on their travels in a campaign which has taken them into the uncharted territory of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
• Inter came out on top when these teams met in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• The Serie A side won 2-1 in Moscow in October 2007, overturning the first-half lead given to their hosts by Jô through goals from Hernán Crespo and Walter Samuel after the break.
• Inter produced an even more spectacular comeback in the return in Milan where they trailed 2-0 to goals from Jô and Vágner Love only to hit back through double strikes from both Esteban Cambiasso and Zlatan Ibrahimović.
• The lineups for that six-goal thriller on 7 November 2007 were:
Inter: Júlio César, Maicon, Córdoba, Samuel, Chivu, Zanetti, Dacourt, Cambiasso, Maxwell (Solari 66), Ibrahimović (Suazo 84), Crespo (Cruz 63).
CSKA: Akinfeev, A Berezutski, V Berezutski (Eduardo 69), Grigoriev, Zhirkov, Dudu (Taranov 83), Rahimić, Krasić, Carvalho, Jô (Aldonin 46), Vágner Love.
• European champions twice in the 1960s, Inter are seeking their first semi-final appearance since 2002/03 when they lost to neighbours AC Milan. The Nerazzurri have since fallen twice at the quarter-final stage, in 2004/05 and 2005/06.
• Mourinho has a 100% record in UEFA Champions League quarter-finals having won at this stage with FC Porto (2004) and Chelsea (2005, 2007).
• UEFA Cup winners in 2005, CSKA are aiming to become the first Russian side since FC Spartak Moskva in 1991 to contest a semi-final in Europe’s elite club competition.
• Inter have already seen off Russian rivals this term. They took four points off FC Rubin Kazan in the group stage, drawing 1-1 away then winning 2-0 at home on Matchday 6 to book second place in the section at Rubin’s expense.
• Javier Zanetti was in the Inter team that defeated Spartak 2-1 home and away in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup semi-finals en route to their most recent European honour.
• This season the Italian titleholders are undefeated at home both in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League, where they have registered two wins and two draws.
• Inter’s most recent European home tie brought a 2-1 victory against Mourinho’s old club Chelsea FC in the first knockout round. They followed that up by winning 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
• Since losing at VfL Wolfsburg on Matchday 1, CSKA have held Manchester United FC 3-3 and won at Beşiktaş JK and Sevilla FC.
• That latter 2-1 success secured a 3-2 aggregate victory against the Spanish side in the first knockout round.
• CSKA’s only win in four attempts in Italy came in October 1991 when they beat AS Roma 1-0 in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup first round. It failed to undo the damage of a 2-1 first-leg loss, though, as they went out on away goals.
• Thanks to a 3-0 second-leg triumph, CSKA defeated semi-final opponents Parma FC by the same aggregate scoreline on their way to lifting their first European trophy, the UEFA Cup, in 2004/05.
• As Chelsea manager Mourinho oversaw home (2-0) and away (1-0) victories against a CSKA side then coached by Valeri Gazzaev in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Dejan Stanković is a colleague of Miloš Krasic in the Serbia national team.
• Wesley Sneijder was on the losing side against Igor Akinfeev and Sergei Ignashevich when Russia beat the Netherlands 3-1 in the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals.
• In the qualifying competition for UEFA EURO 2008, Vasili Berezutski hit the opening goal for Russia in a 3-0 Moscow win against an FYR Macedonia side including Goran Pandev.
• Maicon and Guilherme both made their names at Cruzeiro EC in their native Brazil. Guilherme was still in the club’s youth ranks when Maicon departed for AS Monaco FC in 2004.
• Mark González played in Liverpool FC’s 2006/07 UEFA Champions League quarter-final defeat of PSV Eindhoven but was subsequently an unused substitute for the semi-final victory against Mourinho’s Chelsea side.
• The second leg takes place on 6 April. The victorious team will take on the winner of the quarter-final between Arsenal FC and FC Barcelona in the semi-finals.
Inter Injury News
• Thiago Motta – out 6-16 March (thigh)
• Christian Chivu – out 6 January to 24 March (fractured skull)
• Wesley Sneijder – out 22-26 March (thigh)
• Davide Santon – out 14 February to 20 March and since 20 March (right knee)
• Chivu fractured his skull in a clash of heads with AC Chievo Verona’s Sergio Pellissier but returned against Livorno
wearing a special helmet. “It was magic to be back on the pitch,” he said. “The last time I was this excited I was making
my international debut.”
CSKA Moscow Injury News
• Nika Piliev – out 20 November to 3 March (slipped disc)
• Alan Dzagoev – out 20 January to 3 March (groin)
• Evgeni Aldonin – out 9-16 March (muscle)
• Kiril Nababkin – out 14-26 March (ankle)
• Uroš Ćosić – out 18 January to 3 March (back) and since 7 March (ligaments)
• Mark González – out since 16 March (unspecified muscle problem)
• Ćosić returned in the 1-0 friendly win against third-tier FC Istra on 3 March but then damaged ligaments in his left leg only days later and is expected to be out until May.
• Winter signing Nababkin sprained his ankle slipping on ice in the street but was back on the substitutes’ bench
against Dinamo, then started at Anzhi.