CSKA keen to test Hart deputy Pantilimon

CSKA Moscow coach Leonid Slutsky has told his team to test out Manchester City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon in their crucial Champions League clash.

Costel Pantilimon

The Russian side, who lost at home to City a fortnight ago, head into the Group D encounter needing to win revive their hopes of qualification for the last 16.

Slutsky hopes City could be vulnerable between the posts after manager Manuel Pellegrini decided to drop long-established number one Joe Hart after a series of mistakes and replace him with his deputy Pantilimon.

Slutsky said: "Our main task will be to test Pantilimon tomorrow [Tuesday], to see how good he is, the second goalkeeper.

"But I don't think it will affect our tactics. Obviously Hart is better known to us but we will face Pantilimon."

CSKA were outplayed by City at the Arena Khimki in their last meeting but, on a difficult surface, the English side could only record a 2-1 victory.

They showed just how powerful they can be on home turf, however, as they thrashed Norwich 7-0 in the Barclays Premier League at the weekend.

Slutsky said: "We cannot be guided by just one match as to who will play and how they play.

"We know that Pellegrini uses different set-ups on the pitch and tries to plan their attack. There may be different options.

"But Manchester City are a very strong team and we will do our best."

CSKA, the Russian champions, were in poor form the last time the clubs played but arrive in Manchester on the back of three straight wins. They had won just one of their previous eight.

Slutsky said: "We have had some very nice results since the failures against Zenit (St Petersburg) and Manchester City.

"We know we are playing the favourite team but we will do our best to try to prove that the favourite is not always the one that wins."

Playmaker Keisuke Honda, who went close to scoring a late equaliser against City in Moscow, will be one of the visitors' key men but CSKA concede his time at the club is coming to an end.

The dynamic Japan international has been linked with a move to AC Milan.

Slutsky said: "The situation is known. Honda is not signing the contract with us.

"His contract finishes in December and after that he is free to sign for any club."

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