The Italian football (soccer) club Parma faces CSKA Moscow while AZ Alkmaar of the Netherlands plays Sporting Lisbon when the UEFA Cup semifinal first leg starts Thursday.
Parma hosts the Russian club with coach Pietro Carmignani angry that Moscow has been able to postpone two Russian championship matches to prepare for Thursday's game.
The Italian club is trying to avoid relegation from Serie-A, and plans to rest some of its top players so they will be ready for a match against Livorno Sunday.
Meanwhile, AZ Alkmaar is missing three of its top players - Martijn Meerdink and Joris Mathijsen are out with knee injuries, and defender Jan Kromkamp is out with an ankle injury. Sporting Lisbon welcomes midfielder Hugo Viana back into the lineup after he missed the quarterfinal match against Newcastle of England.
The second-leg matches are May 5. The final is May 18 at Sporting Lisbon's home field in Portugal.
Some information for this report provided by AP.