Grp H: Rubin Kazan vs Neftchi Preview

Alan Kasaev is confident Rubin Kazan will not take Thursday's Europa League opponents Neftchi lightly.

Football News: Alan Kasaev Rubin Kazan Vladislav K

The Russian side will be at least looking to strengthen their position atop Group H with Inter Milan after following up a superb 2-2 draw against the Nerazzurri with a 2-0 victory at home to Partizan Belgrade.

They will come up against a former domestic rival - both clubs played in the same league system in the days of the former Soviet Union - and although Rubin are favourites to triumph, Kasaev is not taking a victory over Boyukagha Hajiyev's men for granted.

"There will be no underestimation of Neftchi from our side," the 26-year-old former Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder told RIA Novosti.

"We will try to play first fiddle. We do not always succeed at doing that, but we are ready to do everything we have to."

Brazilian playmaker Carlos Eduardo will miss the match with a minor ailment while number one goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov and Italian defender Salvatore Bocchetti are both doubts.

Kasaev has predicted an awkward encounter, adding: "We are not worried, but the game will be intense. There are no easy games in the European tournaments."

History is in Neftchi's favour, the Azeri side won three and drew one of the sides' previous meetings in the second tier of the Soviet system in 1975 and 1976.

Anything less than victory on Thursday could leave them with a mountain to climb as they were beaten by Inter after beginning their group campaign with a goalless draw at Partizan.

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