CSKA Moscow managed to earn their first points of the 2013/14 Champions League after bouncing back to defeat Viktoria Plzeň.
This tie was suppose to be a home tie for CSKA Moscow, however mother nature prevented that. Instead CSKA had to host Czech side Viktoria Plzeň over 400 miles away in St. Petersburg. Moscow over the last couple of weeks have experianced heavy rain, which has ruined every pitch in Moscow. This forced UEFA to move the match to a different venue, the stadium picked as the new location was the Petrovsky Stadium, which is home to CSKA’s title rivals Zenit St. Petersburg.
Coming into the match CSKA were in a bad patch of form, they hadn’t won or scored in their last 4 games, 3 defeats and 1 draw. Their last victory was a 1-0 win over Rostov. Plzeň were the complete opposite, in the league they are unbeaten, winning 7 and drawing 3. Their only defeat comes in the Champions League in the opening match against Manchester City.
The pitch looked in good condition as the players come out for the first half, the ground staff at the Petrovsky managed to keep the pitch in good condition after Zenit’s 0-0 draw with Austria Wien the night before.
The hosts didn’t start off well as they were shocked by Plzeň, they took the lead after just 4 minutes. Petrzela shot from range, the effort deflected off CSKA defender Ignashevich and into the path of the arriving full back Rajtoral, Akinfeev was caught out of position and despite his best efforts he couldn’t stop the shot going in. Plzeň didn’t let up after going ahead, they kept coming at CSKA and the visitors could have seen themselves 3-0 up not long after their opener. A high lofted ball was played into the CSKA area, Akinfeev came out to claim it but Kolar managed to beat to the cross, the ball luckily for the keeper ended up going just wide of the goal. Shortly after, the dangerous looking Petrzela managed to burst through the CSKA defence, before laying the ball across to Bakos, the striker poked the ball past Akinfeev, however Wernbloom came to the rescue and cleared the danger. The hosts were struggling, their low confidence and poor form clearly showing.
CSKA finally managed to get their act together and on the 19th minute Zuber played a ball lofted ball to Musa, a clever dummy from the Nigerian took him past Hubnik and allowed him to cross for Tosic, the Serbian didn’t strike the ball cleanly but with the aid of a deflection off Prochazka the ball found it’s way into the goal. CSKA were a completely different side now, the goal gave them confidence and they were putting Plzeň under a lot of pressure. Their second came 7 minutes after their first, Honda and Tosic grew into the game and both were involved. Tosic received the ball from Zuber, the Serbian then played in a lovely weighted pass for Honda, who delightfully poked the ball past Kozacik with the outside of his left foot.
The hosts continued to threaten, Zuber came close as he produced a swerving effort that forced Kozacki into a good save. Musa was then played through thanks to a huge punt up the pitch, he ran a long way but he was disappointing when it came to the finish as he dragged the shot well wide. Just before the break Plzeň almost got back level and it was the full back Rajtoral again, this time Akinfeev met the challenge as Rajtoral attempted to put the ball across goal.
CSKA started the second half where they left off. Early in the half Nababkin was found in plenty of space, he produced a lovely low cross into the box. Musa was the man to meet the cross first and somehow the Nigerian hit the post from 6 yards out. Musa and CSKA was almost punished with that miss as 5 minutes later Kolar got a shot away from 15 yards out, however Honda was back defending and cleared off the line. Plzeň were finding their groove once again and they came close when Kolar played the ball to Petrzela in the area, despite being surrounded by two defenders he managed to get a shot off which only just went wide of the mark.
Despite CSKA now sitting back, they managed to increase their lead in the 80th minute. Musa intercepted a poor clearance and played a pass through to Tosic, the pass was picked up by Reznik, under pressure the defender was foreced to quickly give the ball to his keeper. Kozacik then produce a moment he will hope to forget sooner rather than later as he lost concentration, resulting in the ball rolling under his foot and into the net. CSKA now had a comfortable lead but Plzeň hadn’t given up. 10 minutes after CSKA made it 3-1 Akinfeev had his own howler, a cross came in Akinfeev decided to punch the ball, he punched the ball straight at Tecl, the ball then sailed high into the air and fall to Bakos, the striker took his chance and headed in to set up a nervy end to the game for CSKA.
CSKA Moscow XI – Akinfeev, Ignashevich, Berezutski, Nababkin, Schennikov, Honda, Wernbloom, Elm, Zuber, Tošić, Musa.
Subs Used – Gonzalez for Zuber, Milanov for Elm, Vitinho for Musa.
Viktoria Plzeň XI – Kozáčik, Hubník, Procházka, Řezník, Rajtoral, Petržela, Kolář, Horváth, Hořava, Kovařík, Bakoš.
Subs Used – Tecl for Kovarik, Duris for Horava, Pospisil for Reznik.