CSKA Moscow reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time with a spirited 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) victory over Sevilla.
Neither side had previously managed to progress from the last 16 heading into Tuesday night's second leg and after a 1-1 draw in the first match in Moscow, Sevilla were regarded as favourites having secured an away goal.
However Tomas Necid stole the lead for CSKA late in the first half to cancel out the hosts' away goal, only for Diego Perotti to drag Sevilla level almost immediately. Keisuke Honda's powerful free-kick saw CSKA through as Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop made a mess of what should have been a straightforward save in the 55th minute.
Sevilla began brightly and in the third minute Jesus Navas was played in down the right and whipped in a low cross which was not cleared, allowing Luis Fabiano to take a swing only for Igor Akinfeev to make the save smartly.
CSKA came close to scoring against the run of play in the 26th minute and Honda was a central figure. Necid held the ball up and laid it off to Honda, who forced a save from Palop and when the goalkeeper failed to fully deal with it, then dragged his effort on the rebound narrowly wide despite being on the floor.
A further spell of Sevilla pressure followed before CSKA took the lead in the 39th minute. Honda held the ball up after a throw-in and poked it to Necid, who brought it under control before producing a classy right-footed finish to steer the ball beyond Palop and into the net.
Sevilla equalised immediately to make the tie exactly level, however. A rare long ball was not cleared by the defence, allowing Navas on the right of the area to stab it across for the onrushing Perotti to take a touch and poke home.
Early in the second half Navas cut a swathe down the right and could only watch as his whipped-in cross eluded substitute Fredi Kanoute and Perotti with the goal at their mercy.
Again, however, CSKA took the lead against the run of play and Palop was at fault. The effervescent Honda hit a left-footed free-kick from distance with real power and while the goalkeeper had it covered, he only managed to fist it into his own net to give CSKA the lead - and a crucial second away goal.
Luis Fabiano nearly ground out a goal in the 78th minute but failed to capitalise on the chance as Sevilla - needing to score twice - seemed to accept the inevitable.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms