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Page last updated at 18:52 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

CSKA Moscow 2-0 Villa (agg 3-1)

CSKA Moscow duo Aleksei Berezutski (left) and Alan Dzagoev (right) quickly close down Aston Villa's Nicky Shorey (centre)
Villa's Shorey (centre) feels the force of a double CSKA Moscow challenge

A weakened Aston Villa side were dumped out of the Uefa Cup after being beaten away to CSKA Moscow in the second leg of their last-32 tie.

Villa were missing eight first-team regulars and managed to get to half-time all square.

But Yuri Zhirkov drove in a shot from the edge of the area to put CSKA ahead.

Villa searched for an equaliser but were caught out when Vagner Love fired home during injury-time to secure CSKA Moscow's win 3-1 on aggregate.

The visitors' exit came as little surprise considering Gareth Barry, Brad Friedel, Emile Heskey, James Milner, Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Carlos Cuellar and Stiliyan Petrov had not travelled to Moscow.

Manager Martin O'Neill has put finishing in the top four of the Premier League and achieving a Champions League spot ahead of trying to win the Uefa Cup.


Nevertheless, Villa's second string limited the Russian side to just fleeting chances in the initial stages.

Vasily Berezutskiy went close for the hosts when he powered a header just high, before Alan Dazgoev curled a 25-yard right-foot free-kick narrowly wide.

In sub-zero temperatures on the plastic pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium, Villa held their own without threatening a goal.

CSKA eventually took advantage of a makeshift Villa side when Dzagoev teed up Zhirkov to score with a thunderous drive, giving keeper Brad Guzan little chance after coming through a crowd of players.

A Villa goal would have levelled the tie, but that was unlikely as they rarely managed to produce a period of pressure.

Instead, CSKA added their second when Love pounced in the third minute of injury-time.

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill defends his team selection:
"It's not a decision that was taken lightly.

"I am disappointed we were beaten. I will have to see what the rest of the season brings to see if that disappointment is worsened.

"We've played strongly this year and that's why we're in where we are. We don't want to give it up lightly."

CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev, Alexei Berezutsky, Vasili Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Shchennikov, Krasic, Rahimic, Semberas, Zhirkov, Dzagoev, Vagner Love.
Subs Not Used: Pomazan, Odiah, Daniel Carvalho, Mamaev, Erkin, Ramon, Ricardo Jesus.

Booked: Dzagoev.

Goals: Zhirkov 61, Vagner Love 90.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Luke Young, Davies (Osbourne 84), Knight, Shorey, Albrighton, Gardner, Salifou (Harewood 46), Sidwell, Bannan, Delfouneso.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Lichaj, Clark, Lowry.

Booked: Bannan, Albrighton.

Att: 25,650

Ref: Felix Brych (Germany).

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see also
Thursday's football as it happened
26 Feb 09 |  Football
Aston Villa 1-1 CSKA Moscow
18 Feb 09 |  Europe
O'Neill undaunted by injuries
17 Feb 09 |  Football
Villa squad 'not strong enough'
04 Feb 08 |  Aston Villa
Can Villa rock the top four?
21 Nov 08 |  Premier League

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