CSKA Moscow 2 – 0 Aston Villa Uefa Cup Highlights

February 26, 2009 | Filed Under: UK Box Update 
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Zhirkov and Vagner Love swooped to give CSKA Moscow a 2-0 win over an inexperienced Aston Villa side in the last-32 of the UEFA Cup tonight. Zhirkov broke the deadlock on 61 minutes before Love scored his second goal of the tie in injury time to seal the Russian side’s passage into the last 16, 3-1 on aggregate.

CSKA dominated the first half, but then not once was Brad Guzan called on to make a save. There were two headers from Vasily Berezutskiy that threatened, one a bullet effort from a Zhirkov corner that ended narrowly over the bar, and the second from a Milos Krasic delivery that finished inches wide of the right-hand post.

There was also Alan Dzagoev’s curling a 25-yard right-footed free-kick which fizzed fractionally wide of the same upright, whilst Vagner Love dragged a drive wide of the left-hand post following a fine run.What proved to be Villa’s only worthwhile effort of the game came in the 14th minute when the lively Marc Albrighton’s cross found fellow 19-year-old Nathan Delfouneso for a sidefoot volley comfortably taken by Igor Akinfeev.

At least O’Neill took a positive stance at the start of the second half, abandoning his ineffective 4-5-1 line-up and switching to a 4-4-2. That, though, only gave CSKA the space they had lacked in the first half, underlined by two gilt-edged chances that went begging in the opening 10 minutes.

But Zhirkov rifled home the opener on the hour. Another Curtis Davies tackle on Krasic on the right-hand corner of the area resulted in German referee Felix Brych harshly punishing the centre-back.

That allowed Dzagoev to tee up Zhirkov for a thunderous drive from the edge of the area that flew through a crowd of players and inside Guzan’s left-hand post.

Other opportunities followed, with Guzan twice denying Zhirkov again, before CSKA gained their reward with virtually the last kick of the game via Vagner Love’s 10th goal of the competition and 26th in 42 European games overall

But the result Martin O’Neill’s European adventure to the scrapheap, allowing him to now concentrate on their Premier League campaign and the quest to qualify for next season’s Champions League

More to follow

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