Lokomotiv Moscow, Hapoel Tel Aviv's opponent in the third round of the UEFA Cup, arrived here late last night ahead of tomorrow's clash at Bloomfield.
The Russians spent the last week at a warm weather training camp at Agia Napa in Cyprus and they will hold a final training session in the stadium this evening before both clubs face the media.
The Russians must be in a bit of a dilemma after watching Hapoel's poor performance in the 1-1 draw against Hapoel Haifa on Saturday. The Sport Express newspaper said yesterday that it would have been better for Lokomotiv's players not to have watched TV at all.
A reporter with the team in Cyprus said that the players said they saw a lackluster game between two teams played at a slow pace and full of technical errors.
But, the reporter added, the Lokomotiv players put the performance down to the fact that Hapoel's players were thinking more of tomorrow's match.
In Cyprus yesterday, coach Yuri Semin oversaw a training session with the squad divided into two, with the opening lineup looking in fine form and winning 2-0 as young star Marat Izmailov and James Oviora displayed the best form of all.
"I know that Hapoel is not at all a bad team and that we can expect a tough match," Izmailov said yesterday.
"I am tired after a long season and a heavy schedule, but I am prepared for the match. We should win in Tel Aviv, although a draw would also not be a bad result, but we are thinking of winning," he said.
Coach Semin appeared satisfied with the preparations: "We had a successful camp even though there wasn't an opponent similar to Hapoel here for a training match," he said.
A large party of Lokomotiv officials arrived here already yesterday with spouses and media representatives.
Among the visitors was also Vitali Shevchenko, coach of Torpedo Moscow who was in charge of Hapoel Be'er Sheva a few years ago, and Alexei Kosolapov, a past player for Lokomotiv who also played for Maccabi Tel Aviv.
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