MOSCOW - Inter Milan revived their
Champions League campaign under new coach Claudio Ranieri after
quickly recovering from throwing away a two-goal lead in a 3-2
win at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.
Inter, stunned by Turkey's Trabzonspor 1-0 at home in their
Group B opener two weeks ago, triumphed thanks to Mauro Zarate's
winner as Ranieri recorded his second victory in two games since
replacing the sacked Gian Piero Gasperini.
"I think we beat a very good team tonight," Ranieri told a
"We played well, passed the ball well and also controlled
the tempo," added the former AS Roma, Juventus and Chelsea
"But the most important thing that led us to our victory was
our team spirit."
Inter sold top striker Samuel Eto'o to Russian club Anzhi
Makhachkala and signed Diego Forlan from Atletico Madrid in the
close season but the Uruguayan is ineligible for the Champions
League after playing for the Spanish side in the Europe League
The Italians, who were also missing several leading players
through injury, including playmaker Wesley Sneijder and
midfielders Dejan Stankovic and Thiago Motta, went ahead in the
Brazil defender Lucio's side-footed effort was deflected in
following a corner after he was left unmarked at the far post
and CSKA keeper Vladimir Gabulov misjudged a high ball.
Giampaolo Pazzini then added a second from close-range in
the 23rd minute following a low cross by Yuto Nagatomo with
CSKA's defence in disarray.
Alan Dzagoyev pulled one back for the home side, however,
blasting in a 20-metre free-kick on the stroke of half-time.
The hosts, urged on by a passionate crowd at the Luzhniki Stadium, piled on the pressure after the interval and Brazilian
striker Vagner Love levelled in the 77th minute.
But their joy was short-lived as substitute Zarate fired the
visitors ahead again just two minutes later with his first Inter
goal, giving the 2010 European champions their fifth win over
CSKA in five Champions League matches, including all three
meetings in Moscow.
CSKA, who had their own injury problems with a number of key
players including first-choice goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev on the
sidelines, were unlucky not to have scored more.
They had a strong penalty appeal waved away by Scottish
referee Craig Thomson in the 17th minute when Seydou Doumbia
appeared to be taken down by Lucio inside the box.
Ivory Coast striker Doumbia, who scored both of CSKA's goals
in a 2-2 draw at Lille in their opener, also headed against the
post midway through the fast-paced first half.
Both teams missed plenty of chances after the interval.
Zarate had a shot blocked by Gabulov while at the other end
Dzagoyev fired straight at Julio Cesar.
The Russians though, who scored two late goals to snatch a
point in Lille, could not produce the same escape.
"I think we were a better team but luck was just against
us," an emotional Dzagoyev told Russian television NTV Plus.
"I feel we deserved at least a point tonight."
CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky added: "We gave them two early
goals and it was an uphill battle after that. Although we fought
back we didn't have enough strength for another assault."
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