Record rainfall in September and a lack of suitable stadiums in Moscow have driven CSKA Moscow to move its UEFA Champions League matchup with Viktoria Plzeň on Wednesday to St. Petersburg. Zenit’s Petrovskiy Stadium will host the match.
The surface at Stadion Torpedo for CSKA’s 0-0 draw with Anzhi Makhachkala on Wednesday looked more suited to a lower-league English match in January than a Champions League group-stage clash. Luzhniki Stadium, with its FIFA-approved artificial surface, is closed for renovations ahead of the Russian-hosted 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Luzhniki hosts Russian national team games as well as matches in continental competitions when it is open.
Record September rainfall for Moscow + poor groundskeeping + closure of Luzhniki = this pitch at CSKA v Anzhi pic.twitter.com/CBh0a7bnEF
— James Appell (@jamesappell) September 25, 2013
However, Petrovskiy has a natural surface, and Zenit has a home Champions League match against Austria Wien the day before CSKA plays, which could add to the nightmare if the weather doesn’t hold off or if the field is otherwise torn up that night.
Zenit’s last home game was Sept. 14, and the only other match between that one and the next Champions League date is Saturday against Spartak Moscow. It is not expected to rain Saturday through Tuesday, with a maximum 20 percent chance of showers.