Vasily Berezutski scored a late
winner as CSKA Moscow dramatically qualified for the knockout
stages of the Champions League after defeating Group B winners
Inter Milan 2-1 at the San Siro on Wednesday.
Going into the match needing a win and the Lille-Trabzonspor
match to end in a draw in order to qualify, the defender headed
home with four minutes to go, seconds after Diego Milito had
headed against the crossbar at the other end.
The Russian side took the lead five minutes after the break
through Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia, but dreams of
progression appeared to have evaporated when Argentine
midfielder Esteban Cambiasso equalised within a minute.
With Lille-Trabzonspor ending goalless, CSKA qualified in
second place with eight points from six games, two points behind
2010 winners Inter. Trabzonspor go into the Europa League having
finished third with French champions Lille bottom.
CSKA's leading scorer Doumbia said it was a magical night.
"It was unbelievable to score here," he told uefa.com. "I
hadn't scored for two matches so it was a great relief. It was
tough to take when they equalised but I was so happy when we
Inter coach Claudio Ranieri said he was happy with his side
despite a second home defeat in five days after Saturday's
league reversal against Udinese, which left them 15th in Serie
"It seems strange but the boys are doing well," he told Sky
"When you go home with a defeat it's not great, but now we
have to pick ourselves up for Saturday's match against
Fiorentina [at home]."
CSKA enjoyed a bright start but it was the home side who
should have taken the lead on 10 minutes when a three-man break
ended with a brave Vladimir Gabulov diving to cut out Diego
Milito's weak cross.
With the frantic early pace resembling the end rather than
the start of a match, the Russian side's defences were breached
a second time two minutes later when Milito fed Yuto Nagatomo
but Gabulov was again on hand to save the Japanese defender's
Inter goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi was called into action for
the first time on 28 minutes, throwing himself to his left to
parry Vagner Love's curling strike from distance as the visitors
continued to press but with more caution.
Love squandered a glorious chance to give CSKA the lead 10
minutes before half-time when he climbed superbly inside the
six-metre box to meet a free kick but managed to head over the
bar with the goal gaping.
On the stroke of half-time, Milito twice went close to
breaking the deadlock, firing a fraction over with a fizzing
effort from the edge of the box seconds after shooting against
Gabulov's frame from another well-timed break.
With the news that Lille and Trabzonspor were still drawing
at half-time, CSKA poured forward at the start of the second half
and they were rewarded within five minutes when Love slipped in
the onrushing Doumbia to finish coolly past Castellazzi.
Russian celebrations were short lived however as Inter
equalised in the very next attack when Cambiasso was on hand to
poke home with the outside of his left foot after Gabulov had
parried a powerful Andrea Ranocchia header.
CSKA piled forward but Inter should have settled the match
with five minutes to go when Milito headed against the underside
of the bar from close range after a brilliant break from Javier
The lifeline spurred on the Russians and they grabbed the
winner when Berezutski rose majestically to head in a corner as
they ended the match in wild celebration.
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