A heavily depleted CSKA destroyed Turkish side Trabzonspor in the Champions League. The Army Men claimed their first win in Group B and leapfrogged the surprise group leaders from Turkey, courtesy of a better goal difference.
Going into the game the teams’ chances were regarded as almost equal. CSKA Moscow are one of the favorites to win the Russian Premier League but their achievements this year have come at a price.
Injuries have plagued the club since the beginning of the season with captain and iconic goalkeeper of the national team, Igor Akinfeev, the latest player to join the casualty list.
Also sidelined are Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda, defenders Viktor Vasin, Georgy Schennikov, Kirill Nababkin and forward Seku Olise.
But despite their injury troubles the Muscovites did what they had to do. Their duo of forwards, Seydou Doumbia and Vagner Love, became the game’s stars. The Ivorian scored a brace, while the Brazilian added two stylish assists. Late substitute Alexander Caunya also put his name on the scoresheet. The Latvian could have scored another late goal, but hit the post.
Both teams have now four points each but the Army Men have a better goal difference.
Elsewhere, a killer by Gianpaolo Pazzini earned Inter Milan a hard-earned 1-0 win over Lille that sent the Italian side to the top of Group B. But the two qualification spots are still up for grabs in that quartet.
Bayern Munich retained their leadership of Group A with a 1-1 draw at Napoli, although the four-time winners will regret not coming away with a victory after Mario Gomez failed to convert a second-half penalty. Meanwhile in Manchester, substitute Sergio Aguero grabbed an injury-time winner as City beat Villarreal 2-1, to leave the Premier League leaders back in the fight for leadership of Group A.
Karim Benzema scored one goal and assisted with two more against his former club as Real Madrid claimed their third straight Champions League win with a 4-0 home victory against Lyonin Group D. Meanwhile, Ajax took second position in the group beating Dynamo Zagreb on the road 2-0.
Benfica beat FC Basel 2-0 in to go top of Group C. In the same quartet, Wayne Rooney converted two second-half penalties to earn 10-man Manchester United a 2-0 victory at Otelul Galati.