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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
CSKA win heralds new Russian dawn
CSKA Moscow celebrate their Uefa Cup win
CSKA Moscow's Uefa Cup victory will herald a new dawn in Russian football, says CSKA coach Valery Gazzayev.

Thousands took to the streets in Moscow to celebrate the 3-1 win in Lisbon that sealed Russia's first European trophy.

"It's is a great achievement of Russian football," said Gazzayev, who believes it is also proof a Russian side could reach the Champions League final.

"I'm proud of my players, I'm proud of our fans and I'm proud of my country."

The country's prime minister Mikhail Fradkov also joined the celebratory mood saying: "I would like to congratulate the CSKA players and coaches along with all Russian football lovers for a historic win."

Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the lower house of parliament, even suggested that 18 May could forever now be known as "The Day of Russian Soccer."

"People will be going to stadiums and seeing the appearance of new soccer idols," he said.

Roman's roubles

Gazzayev said it was a "landmark" for Russian football.

"Now every child in Russian youth football schools will know what to work for and what to dream about and will know those dreams can become true," he said.

"This...will give the nation the belief to go on and win more things at both club and international level.

"I hope the next medal I pick up will be a Champions League one," he said.

Powered by a 29m sponsorship deal with Russian oil company Sibneft, of which Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is still the majority shareholder, CSKA only just failed to make it into the knockout rounds of this season's Champions League.

CSKA Moscow fans celebrate Russia's first European trophy
Delirious Russian fans celebrate the Uefa Cup win in Lisbon

Having come through a second qualifying-round tie against Azerbaijan's Neftchi Baku in July, CSKA were paired with Porto, Chelsea and Paris St Germain.

A 3-1 win over the French side in their final game did not prove quite enough - Porto's last-gasp win over Chelsea putting the Portuguese side through and leaving CSKA to settle for a place in the last 32 of the Uefa Cup.

As a result, captain Sergei Semak left for Paris St Germain and Czech midfielder Jiri Jarosik joined Chelsea.

The team also had to cope with the departure of homesick Brazilian striker Vagner Love, though he later returned, and it was his goals, capped by the third against Sporting, that helped CSKA seal their Uefa Cup success.

Porto pair

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian teams have endured lean times.

The national side has never advanced past the first stage of the World Cup or European Championship, while club sides have continued a barren run in Europe.

But there are also signs the growing financial muscle of Russian clubs means they can attract top players.

Last week Dynamo Moscow splashed out 14m ($25.7m) to sign Porto pair Maniche and Costinha, who joined their former team-mate Derlei in the Russian capital.

Spartak paid 8.2m (12m euros) for talented young Argentine Fernando Cavenaghi and Lokomotiv brought home Russia striker Dmitri Sychev from Olympique Marseille.



SEE ALSO
Country profile: Russia
17 May 05 |  Country profiles


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