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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » CSKA Moscow win UEFA Cup

CSKA Moscow win UEFA Cup

May 19, 2005 10:48 IST

Brazilian samba and Russian steel combined to clinch an historic UEFA Cup final victory for CSKA Moscow on Wednesday as they stunned Portugal's Sporting 3-1.

Playing in their own Jose Alvalade Stadium, Sporting seemed set to spark a Portuguese party when Rogerio's superb 29th-minute strike from just outside the box gave them the lead.

But the army side stormed back in 19 second-half minutes with three goals, all created by Brazilian playmaker Daniel Carvalho, to become the first club representing Russia to win a European club final.

Alexei Berezutsky, one of twin defenders in CSKA's side, headed CSKA level on 56 minutes and nine minutes later Carvalho carved open Sporting's defence for Yuri Zhirkov to run in and fire under Ricardo.

Brazilian striker Vagner Love sealed their revival 15 minutes from time, finishing off Carvalho's pass after a swift counter-attack to send 2,000 CSKA fans into a frenzy on a balmy evening in the Portuguese capital.

"They are heroes. They did the impossible," CSKA coach Valery Gazzayev told Russian television.

"From our first match in the UEFA Cup we had this goal -- to win the Cup -- and we achieved what we set out to do.

"The players totally deserved this victory because they've played well throughout the entire competition."

Gazzayev's side started their European campaign in the second qualifying round of the Champions League and have played a record-equalling 19 European games this season.

Their victory also ensured Sporting became only the third club to lose a single match European final in their own ground, following on from Juventus (1965 Fairs Cup) and AS Roma (1984 European Cup).

Sporting had been good value for their first-half lead, the lively Pedro Barbosa and Liedson probing down both flanks and forcing a flurry of corners.

Chances were few and far between though until the hosts went ahead with a goal out of the blue.

Fabio Rochemback looked to pick out Liedson on the edge of the box with a short pass which should have been cleared by Carvalho. But the midfielder failed to control and Rogerio nipped in, took one touch and unleashed an upstoppable curling shot past Akinfeyev into the top right hand corner.

It was only the fifth goal CSKA had conceded in the competition this season and they were nearly breached again when a fine build up involving Barbosa, Rochemback and Rodrigo Tello left Akinfeyev having to smother under pressure.

CSKA's front two Love and Ivica Olic had got little change out of Sporting's defence, marshalled well by Nigerian Joseph Enakarhire, for much of the half but the Russian side missed a glorious chance to level just before the break.

Croatian Olic got free on the right and slid a pass across the face of goal to unmarked Love, but the Brazilian, under no pressure, scuffed the chance wide.

Love, who had been set to leave CSKA earlier this year only for a move back home to Corinthians to fall through, then did better with an acrobatic volley that flew just wide.

Sporting failed to heed the threat and on 57 minutes CSKA levelled when Berezutsky met Carvalho's free kick with a downward header that bounced up and over Ricardo.

Carvalho's increasing influence bore further dividends when he split Sporting's defence with an incisive pass and Zhirkov provided a sublime finish under Ricardo to nose CSKA ahead.

Rattled, Sporting upped the pace and should have equalised when Rogerio somehow contrived to strike the post when standing almost on the goalline.

Within a minute CSKA broke swiftly and put the game beyond reach when Carvalho picked out Love alone in the penalty box, and the striker evaded the out-rushing Ricardo to reduce Sporting's fans to silence.


Justin Palmer
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