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Aiden McGeady's Champions League D-Day

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Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady faces the biggest match of his Spartak Moscow career tonight when Marseilles visit the Russian capital.

A win guarantees Spartak a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, a draw will leave them in a very strong position but a defeat would make the French side favourites to qualify alongside Chelsea.

Spartak started their campaign with a 1-0 win away to Marseilles and that result has given them an edge throughout the group.

Back-to-back defeats from Chelsea may have damaged morale but it’s the battle with the French side that will determine whether or not they’ll be playing in the Champions League or Europa Cup next seaon.

Spartak’s disappointing league campaign has ended without qualification for next season’s Champions League which increases the pressure to make the last 16 this season.

A draw would virtually see Spartak through- unless Marseilles get a better result in their final match with Chelsea than Spartak get away to Zilina- but coach Valery Karpin was quick to dismiss that notion.

He said: “Though a draw would be a positive result, we wouldn’t like to go into our last game against Zilina with progress not confirmed. We will not play for a draw.

“As far as our last fixture in the group is concerned, Zilina are beatable but there are millions of examples in football where matches against an underdog produce surprising results. So, the sooner we reach our goal the better.

“We have a lot of injured players and it would be difficult to rotate our squad especially after losing 3-1 to CSKA at the weekend.

“Marseilles are stronger now. When we played them two months ago it was the beginning of the season, but now they’ve played enough matches to find their form and rhythm. I can’t say that we feel more confident just because of the result in the first match.”

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