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MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. Three Russian football clubs are confidently playing in the qualifying series of the European tournaments, namely in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Friday.
CSKA Moscow FC defeated 2:0 Greek club AEK on July 25 in the opener of 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League. Russia’s Krasnodar FC and Zenit FC defeated Denmark’s Lyngby 2:1 and Israel’s Bnei Yehuda 2-0 respectively.
"These are just the opening matches, but on the whole our clubs had confident victories," Mutko, who is also the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), said in an interview with TASS. "I do hope that they will qualify for the next round of play-offs. This is very important."
Mutko particularly lauded the 17-year-old forward from Krasnodar, Magomed-Shapi Suleymanov, who scored the winner against the Danish club in three minutes of added time.
"I am, as well as all Russian football fans, always glad to see such young and homegrown players emerging," he said. "Such players should serve as the landmark for the Russian football."
"This is why I want our (Russian) footballers to have more of playing time and opportunities, since this is the only way to increase the level of the national football team," the RFU president added.
Second leg matches of the 3rd qualifying round both in the Champions League and the Europa League are scheduled for next week. The Draw for the play-off round will be held next Friday, August 4, at UEFA’s headquarters in Switzerland’s Nyon.