Sporting CP 1 - CSKA 3 CSKA Moscow won the UEFA Cup in Lisbon, beating the hosts Sporting Clube de Portugal 3-1 in their own Jose Alvalade Stadium
First Russian team to win UEFA Cup. Sporting CP 1 - CSKA 3 CSKA Moscow won the UEFA Cup today in Lisbon, beating the hosts Sporting Clube de Portugal 3-1 in their own Jose Alvalade Stadium, after demonstrating the intelligence to play tactical and strategic football at its best.
Sporting Clube de Portugal
Ricardo, Barbosa, Sa Pinto, Enakarhire, Garcia, Beto, Rochemback, Moutinho, Liedson, Rogйrio, Tello
PFC CSKA MOSKVA
Akinfeev, Ignashevich, Aleksei Berezoutski, Daniel Carvalho, Olic, Vagner Love, Odiah, Zhirkov, Aldonin, Vassili Berezoutski, Rahimic
CSKA deservedly take the UEFA Cup to Moscow, after a fine display of tactical football, intelligence, concentration and organization, which silenced the home crowd (Sporting's stadium had been chosen by UEFA to host the final of the 2004/5 season last season). This was a question of third time lucky for CSKA, who in two previous games in Portugal this season, against FC Porto in the Champions League (0-0) and against Benfica (1-1) in the UEFA Cup, proved their worth.
However it was Sporting who got off to a good start. After 28 minutes, the Brazilian Rogerio shot on the turn on the edge of the box, scoring with a swerving shot which flew into the top right-hand corner of the net, leaving Akinfeev with no chance.
Until then, Sporting had been putting on the pressure but CSKA had also shown they could be difficult to contain on the break, which forced the home players to leave their defensive midfield back, rather than going forward to support the attack.
The message was given and received: CSKA meant business. The CSKA defence stopped and blocked everything that Sporting could throw at it and the midfield incursions became more and more incisive as the first half wore on, culminating in an excellent chance after 44 minutes for the CSKA Brazilian forward, Vagner Love, who shot wide.
Sporting started the second half strongly and nearly scored after 51 minutes, when Akinfeev was penalized for handling an Ignashevitch back pass, but Rochemback's scorching shot flew wide of the post. Here was the turning point in the game. First Daniel Carvalho in midfield and then Vagner Love up front started to show signs of danger until on 57 minutes, CSKA equalized the game with a header from Aleksei Berezoutski, converting Carvalho's free kick.
After this, it was a free-for-all, with end-to-end football sweeping up and down the field. First Sa Pinto blocked a Liedson header in front of Akinfeev but on 65 minutes, CSKA scored again, Carvalho feeding Zhirkov, who buried the ball in Ricardo's net.
Between 70 and 75 minutes, this game provided a classic reason why football should not be watched by cardiac patients, as the true excitement of professional soccer at its very best was played out before an enraptured crowd. First Krasic (CSKA), then Rogerio (Sporting), then Krasic again, then Rogerio again, hitting the post from a distance of one metre, failing to equalize, taunted the fans until Daniel Carvalho provided a third killer pass of the night to feed Vagner Love. 3 - 1 to CSKA.
The Russian fans celebrated in the warm Lisbon night air in a friendly atmosphere providing an excellent example of Portuguese hospitality at its best after ninety-two minutes of football which extolled the excellence of this noblest of games.
CSKA go home to Moscow deserving the win and winning a lot of friends with their clean, direct and intelligent football. If the Russian national team can build on this, things augur well for Germany 2006.