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'No Favorites' for Russia-Portugal clash: Capello

Russian Federation,Sports, Thu, 11 Oct 2012 IANS

Moscow, Oct 11 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia's match with Portugal Friday will be a close World Cup qualifier between two top-quality sides, Russia coach Fabio Capello predicted Thursday.

The two top sides in Group F, both with 100 percent win records, are to face off on the plastic pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium.

"Portugal are a good side, as they showed at the last European championships," Capello said. "Russia are a good-quality side too, so I think it will be a good game, a tough game, and there are no favourites."

The artificial surface is unlikely to hinder Portugal's star-studded lineup, Capello said.

"The quality of the players is such that they can play well on any surface, so I don't think it will have any effect on the players in the Portugal side," he said.

Capello complained vocally about the state of the natural pitch at Moscow's Lokomotiv stadium following Russia's last home game against Northern Ireland, and said it had still appeared poor when he watch Anzhi take on Young Boys in the Europa League there last week.

Some of the Portugal squad have experience playing on Luzhniki's artificial turf.

Ronaldo scored for Real Madrid in the 1-1 Champions League draw against CSKA Moscow in February, when defenders Fabio Coentrao and Pepe also played, while Bruno Alves appears there regularly in the Russian Premier League for Zenit St. Petersburg.

Ronaldo and Nani were in the Manchester United side that beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties in the 2008 Champions League final at Luzhniki, which shipped in natural grass for the occasion.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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