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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Revel in Underdog Billing

LISBON -- CSKA Moscow's Brazilian Vagner Love believes his team's position as underdog will bring the best from the Russians, while Sporting Lisbon coach Jose Peseiro tried to calm an expectant nation.

"The team is on form, our expectations are very good," Love told UEFA's web site. "We are motivated and focused and I think CSKA can win this trophy."

No Russian team has ever won a European title, and CSKA's task will be tough when it faces Sporting on its home field -- Jose Alvalade Stadium -- with fewer than 2,000 Russian fans expected in the sellout crowd of 45,000.

"You have an advantage when you are playing in front of your own crowd, with the stadium completely full," said Love, who came to CSKA from Palmeiras last year.

"That gives an extra motivation to the players. Sporting will have this, but CSKA are playing well at the moment and it's a final, so anything can happen."

Peseiro is trying to dampen the euphoria among home fans, recalling last year's European Championship when host Portugal lost to Greece in the final at Benfica's Estadio da Luz. Peseiro is wary that the underdog Russians could spring a surprise.

"It's going to be a game between a team that has nothing to lose and one that has everything to lose," Peseiro said.

"I expect their coach to make the most of that, quietly working hard and making the most of the pressure that's on us."

Sporting's only European trophy was in 1964, when it beat MTK Budapest to win the Cup Winners' Cup, which is no longer played for.

In that year's quarterfinals, Sporting lost at Manchester United 4-1 but won the return leg 5-0 despite playing a team that featured Bobby Charlton and George Best.