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Friday 15 December 2017

Sevilla blunders put CSKA into quarters

CSKA Moscow reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time after beating Sevilla 2-1 last night, with Keisuke Honda scoring the winner for a 3-2 aggregate win.

CSKA went ahead in the 39th minute when Tomas Necid received the ball on the edge of the area, moved away from his marker and calmly placed the ball past Sevilla keeper Andres Palop.

After a long pass into the area unbalanced the CSKA defence, Diego Perotti equalised in the 41st by tapping past Igor Akinfeev.

In the 55th minute, Palop misjudged as he attempted to punch away Honda's long free kick and the ball bounced off his fists into the net, leaving Sevilla needing two goals to progress, which the team never looked like managing.

"This result is disastrous and all we can do is say sorry to the fans. We had a lot of hopes pinned on this game," Sevilla coach Manuel Jimenez said. "I'm the one who's responsible."

With the score finely balanced after the 1-1 draw in the first leg in Russia, both sides looked cagey in the first half at Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium. Sevilla had slightly more possession of the ball although they struggled to create chances as they sought to reach the quarter-finals of Europe's top competition for the first time since 1958.

"It wasn't to be, they played better than us," said Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido. "Our team was too tensed up."

In one of Sevilla's best chances of the game, Luis Fabiano's first-time strike of Jesus Navas' cross from close range drew a fine save from Akinfeev in the third minute.

"We had a clear opportunity to break the 0-0 scoreline," Jimenez said of the chance. "Normally we score on those kinds of occasions, but Luis Fabiano's shot went straight to the goalkeeper."

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