Pareja ready to derail Blues
Defender expects Chelsea to advance from Group F
By Francisco Acedo. Last Updated: October 19, 2010 12:45pm
Pareja: Wants to reach last 16
Spartak Moscow defender Nico Pareja expects Chelsea to progress to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages but he is desperate to derail Carlo Ancelotti's team.
The two Group F rivals meet in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium in Tuesday evening's early kick-off, with the English club returning to the scene of their 2008 final heartbreak.
Chelsea currently top the group with six points but they are only above Spartak on goal difference to mean that the winner in Russia would take a huge stride towards the last 16.
Pareja thinks Carlo Ancelotti's defending Premier League champions will qualify from the group, however, he is eager to take points and help Spartak to also move forward.
"This match against Chelsea is difficult and is a final for us," the Argentine centre-back told skysports.com. "The group is very equal and any scoreline could change the table.
"Chelsea are the favourites and will be in the next round of the Champions League, but we need to do our best to add to our points."
Chelsea will start the match, which can be seen live on Sky Sports HD2/2, without Didier Drogba (illness) Frank Lampard (hernia), Hilario (rib), Jose Bosingwa (knee) and Yossi Benayoun (Achilles).
But while Pareja recognises that the absence of star striker Drogba is beneficial for Spartak, he acknowledges that the Stamford Bridge outfit still possess plenty of strength in depth.
"The problem is the Chelsea squad," added Pareja. "With or without absences, they have a sensational squad. To stop them is not easy but this is our challenge."
Pareja added: "The absence of Drogba is positive for us."