Portugal must take Russia seriously, says coach

Updated: Oct 12, 2012, 15:04 PM IST

Moscow: Russia are a quality team and Portugal cannot afford to take them lightly when the two clash in a football World Cup qualifier, Portugal coach Paulo Bento said.

Friday`s match pits together the two favourites in Group F, each with 100 percent records after two games.

"We need to approach the Russian national team in a serious manner," Bento said, adding that the quality of the Russian players and coach Fabio Capello made them serious opponents.

"We`re here to win."

Bento added that the match was "important, but not crucial" to Portugal`s chances of reaching Brazil 2014.

Capello earlier joked that he had hoped Ronaldo had been seriously hurt when he was substituted with a shoulder injury after scoring both of Real Madrid`s goals in a 2-2 draw with Barcelona Saturday.

Bento would not be drawn on a response to Capello`s comments.

"I always like good players to play," he said when asked about what Capello had said.

The artificial pitch at Moscow`s Luzhniki Stadium is not a concern, he added.

"No," Bento said when asked whether the surface could harm Portugal`s chances.

Both countries are in action again Tuesday, with Portugal hosting Northern Ireland and Russia playing Azerbaijan in Moscow.