Odiah's CSKA in high speed against Kanoute's Sevilla

  • Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - MERCY JACOB
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CSKA Moskva faces difficult opponents as it treads new ground in the UEFA Champions League with a home game against a Sevilla FC side, who has been a formidable force in its two campaigns. CSKA, who is breaking a new ground with a place in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, faces a difficult test in hosting a Sevilla FC side, which has shown in its two campaigns that mixing with the cream of Europe holds no fears for it.

The Moscow club qualified for the group stage of the inaugural UEFA Champions League in 1992/93 having won through the first two rounds, but in its four subsequent campaigns, this is the first time it has progressed from its section.
Leonid Slutski’s side achieved its place with a dramatic 2–1 victory at Beikta JK on Matchday 6 to finish as Group B runners-up, three points behind Manchester United FC and three ahead of VfL Wolfsburg. It was CSKA’s third victory after home wins against Wolfsburg and Beikta. In the Luzhniki Stadium it also suffered a 1–0 loss to United.

The Army men last faced Spanish opposition 14 months ago, when they saw off RC Deportivo La Coruna 3–0 in the UEFA Cup group stage in Moscow. Their only other meeting with visitors from Spain was a 1–1 UEFA Champions League draw against FC Barcelona on October 21, 1992, CSKA, knocking the reigning European champions out with a 3–2 win in the Camp Nou reverse.

Sevilla faced Premier-Liga opposition on three occasions in 2005/06 en route to the first of its successive UEFA Cup triumphs. It lost 2–1 at FC Zenit St. Petersburg in the group stage before beating FC Lokomotiv Moskva away (1–0) and home (2–0) in the round of 32. In the quarter-finals, it exacted revenge on Zenit with a 5–2 aggregate win, the away leg ending 1–1.
The Andalusian club suceeded CSKA, who became the first Russian side to claim European silverware in 2005, as UEFA Cup winners.
This time around, Sevilla won Group G by a four-point margin, losing only at FC Unirea Urziceni on Matchday 5 with qualification already assured. It triumphed at Rangers FC (4–1) and VfB Stuttgart (3–1) and has lost only three of its 14 matches in the UEFA Champions League proper so far, all the defeats coming away from home.

In its previous UEFA Champions League campaign, the Spanish side exited the competition at this stage against Fenerbahce SK. After losing the first leg 3–2 away, it managed to win the return by the same score only to go out on penalties.
Juande Ramos, who led Sevilla to its twin UEFA Cup triumphs, spent six weeks as CSKA head coach last autumn.
Ivica Dragutinovi and Milo Krasi are team-mates in the Serbian national team. Igor Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevich plus Aleksei and Vasili Berezutski all featured for Russia against Spain at UEFA EURO 2008, Spain winning 4–1 in Group D and 3–0 in the semi-finals. Akinfeev and Ignashevich played in both games, while both Berezutski brothers remained on the bench along with Andres Palop and Fernando Navarro for their opponents.
Mark Gonzalez has had spells at Albacete Balompie, Real Sociedad de Futbol and Real Betis Balompie.
Marius Stankeviius played for Lithuania in a 4–3 defeat by Russia in a Moscow friendly in August 2004.

Dragutinovi and Krasi played for Serbia in a 3–0 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory against a Lithuania side containing Deividas emberas and Stankevi-ius on October 11, 2008. Dragutinovi, Krasi and Stankevi-ius also appeared in the reverse fixture, won 2–1 by Lithuania on October 14, 2009.
Luis Fabiano scored twice for Brazil in a 3–0 victory against a Chile side including Gonzalez in a World Cup qualifier on September 7, 2008.
Alvaro Negredo scored twice for Spain in a 5–2 victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina in a World Cup qualifying tie in Zenica on October 14 , 2009. Elvir Rahimi was on the opposing side as he had been when Bosnia-Herzegovina lost 1–0 in Murcia a year earlier, when Diego Capel lined up for the hosts.
Russia forward, Aleksandr Kerzhakov, was at Sevilla from January 2007 to February 2008, winning the UEFA Cup, Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup.

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