Love is exquisite but Carew proves to be equal match

Aston Villa 1 CSKA Moscow 1

Villa Park revelled in the atmosphere of a big European night, especially after John Carew cancelled out a high-class goal by the exquisitely named Wagner Love. Yet Aston Villa will need to summon the form that has built the best away record in the Premier League if they are to eliminate CSKA Moscow from the Uefa Cup’s round of 32 on the Luzhniki Stadium’s synthetic surface a week tonight.

Watched by Chelsea’s spies – CSKA’s one-time sponsor, Roman Abramovich, and his new manager, the Russia coach Guus Hiddink, who will return with the London club on Saturday – Villa fell behind to a 14th-minute goal by the Brazilian striker Love, a vision in blue dreadlocks.

They then subjected the CSKA goal to a barrage of crosses, chiefly from Ashley Young, although it took a measured pass by Craig Gardner to pave the way for Carew’s riposte 21 minutes from time.

Martin O’Neill was defiant about the task now facing his side, mindful that Villa have won 14 and lost just five of their 21 away matches.

“Obviously it’ll be difficult in Moscow,” the Villa manager said. “They’ve got the away goal and we have to score. They showed they are a dangerous counter-attacking side but so are we as our record has shown this season. CSKA are a very fine side who won all their group games and have already qualified for the Champions League. But I thought we played really well.

“People keep on about our endeavour, but I’ve got some top-quality players. Look at Ashley Young’s crosses; I wish I was four years younger I’d get 29 goals a season with someone like him to feed off. His delivery is so exceptional you don’t have to do much to put them in. [Gareth] Barry and [Stiliyan] Petrov were outstanding, too, and [Gabriel] Agbonlahor is developing the ability to come off the central defender.”

Love’s illustrious compatriot Zico, taking his first competitive fixture as CSKA’s coach, was upbeat about their prospects of progress in the competition they won in 2005. “Of course we’re confident – a man without confidence is not a man,” he said, reeling off an old Russian proverb from Rio de Janeiro. “We were not surprised by the way Villa played. They get Ashley Young to put the ball into the box a lot. We expected this sort of game and were ready for it. For the next game we will be in better condition.”

CSKA played Villa at their own counter-attacking game in the first half and deserved their lead from a move started and finished by Love. Taking possession in his own half, he jinked past a couple of challenges before feeding Alan Dzagoev, then raced on to the 18-year-old’s return pass before slotting his ninth goal in this season’s competition beyond Brad Guzan from 12 yards.

One half-expected the theme to From Russia With Love to soundtrack the celebrations, although the sight of Zico, the erstwhile white Pele, cavorting with his brother and assistant, Edu, suggested a samba would have been more apposite.

Villa initially struggled to to recapture the momentum that carried them unbeaten through 11 games until Sunday’s FA Cup exit at Everton. Just after the half-hour, Ashley Young supplied each of the front two in swift succession, but Agbonlahor glanced the ball wide while Carew headed over.

Despite being without James Milner – with Young, the source of so many crosses – Villa clearly aimed to expose the small stature of Igor Akinfeev, Hiddink’s goalkeeper with the national side. The ploy almost paid off after 53 minutes, Gardner heading against the bar following a Young corner.

Ironically, when Villa’s pressure did produce an equaliser, it came about because Ashley Young, played in on the left by Barry, for once put a cross into a space where no colleague had made a run. The ball shot across the penalty area to the opposite wing where it was seized upon by Gardner. Milner’s replacement had sufficient poise to resist another high ball, instead slipping a pass inside for Carew to steer his ninth goal of the season through Akinfeev’s legs.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Guzan; L Young, Knight, Davies, Shorey; Gardner, Petrov, Barry, A Young; Carew, Agbonlahor. Substitues not used: Friedel (gk), Harewood, Delfouneso, Salifou, Albrighton, Bannan, Lowry.

CSKA Moscow (4-2-3-1): Akinfeev; A Berezutski, V Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov; Aldonin (Mamaev, 90), Rahmic; Krasic, Dzagoev (Carvalho, 46), Zhirkov (Erkin, 90); Love. Substitues not used: Pomazan (g), Ramon, Da Silva, Odiah, Erkin.

Referee: P Rasmussen (Denmark).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot