Russian giants no hit with fans

TORPEDO Moscow, who will Ipswich Town's first UEFA Cup opponents of the new campaign, are one of Russia's leading clubs, with three league titles to their credit and their only domestic double secured back in 1960.

TORPEDO Moscow are one of Russia's leading clubs, with three league titles to their credit and their only domestic double secured back in 1960.

Founded in 1924, they play in black and white and took their name from the first Soviet-made production car, which was manufactured at the Likhachev Auto Plant where the club first evolved.

There was a major fall-out with the car company in the early 90s that resulted in Torpedo moving home, across Moscow to the suburb of Luzhniki.

Their home ground – which staged the Olympic Games in 1980 – has a capacity of more than 87,000, more than enough for the club's modest fan base, and is rated one of the best in the world.

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The Russians will be hoping to advance in Europe beyond the first round, where their hopes were dashed last year by Lausanne.

They lost the first leg 3-2 in Switzerland and went down 2-0 at home in the return.

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Nine years ago they KO'd Manchester United in the UEFA Cup first round, when both games ended goalless and Torpedo advanced after a 4-3 penalty shoot-out success.

They did not survive the second round, despite beating Real Madrid 3-2 at home. In the first leg in Spain they were defeated 5-2.

Torpedo finished third in the Russian League last season, their first top-three finish since 1991, but only after a controversial end to the campaign.

They met Premier Division newcomers Anji Makhachkala on the last day, to decide who would finish third, and the teams were tied at 1-1 when Torpedo were awarded a penalty in stoppage time.

Anji players walked off the pitch and were only persuaded to change their minds and return after a short delay.

Andrei Gashkin scored from the spot to ensure Torpedo finished third on 55 points, 15 behind champions Spartak and seven behind runners-up Lokomotiv, both of whom are also Moscow-based sides.

This season they are lying sixth in the table, eight points behind Spartak with 22 of the 30 fixtures completed.

They defeated Spartak 2-0 at home in May but the game only attracted a 10,000 crowd. The Russian season started in March and finishes in November.

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