Qatar FA in Dream League denial

March 13, 2013

Russian side Rubin Kazan are eyeing a second successive Spanish scalp as they host Primera Division outfit Levante in the Europa League.

Kazan, who knocked out holders Atletico Madrid in the previous round, claimed a creditable goalless draw when the sides met in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Valencia last week.

The tie now switches to Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium with Kazan, despite failing to claim an away goal, in good heart.

Forward Jose Rondon said: "We will approach the game in the same way we approach all our games, and like we approached Atletico Madrid.


"We will play the second leg with the same mindset and the same desire."

Kazan are also buoyed by a successful return to domestic league action, following their winter break, last weekend.

Rondon was the man on target as Kazan claimed a 1-0 win over another Europa League team in Zenit St Petersburg.

The Venezuelan was one of his side's chief threats last week and, along with team-mate Bebras Natcho, he hit the woodwork late on.

Levante were the better side earlier on and also hit the bar through Sergio Ballesteros.

Kazan defender Cristian Ansaldi and Levante midfielder Michel both miss the return after being sent off last week. Kazan are also without Spanish defender Cesar Nevas through suspension.

Levante, 10th in the Spanish competition, also drew 0-0 when they hosted Getafe at the weekend.

Levante goalkeeper Keylor Navas said: "What we have to do is stay focused, defend well and try to take advantage of their mistakes.

"We hope to continue in this competition and keep dreaming, and we'll give everything to qualify for the next round."

There will be one notable change to Levante's line-up from last week with striker Obafemi Martins, who joined the Spaniards from Kazan last September, having moved to Seattle Sounders.

A report on Wednesday said that a tournament for 24 clubs named the 'Dream Football League' and backed by the Qatari royal family would be established from 2015.

A statement from the Qatar Football Association said however: "With regard to the story published in today's edition of The Times newspaper concerning a 'Dream Football League,' the Qatar Football Association and other Qatari football entities can categorically confirm that we have no involvement in any such initiative and has heard nothing to suggest such a concept is genuine."

FIFA and UEFA would have to sanction any such competition, and the governing bodies plus sources at the European Clubs' Association said they had not heard of the plan.

UEFA said in a statement: "UEFA is not aware of any such alleged plans. We therefore have no comments to make."