Zhirkov on rampage as Russians overwhelm Auxerre

CSKA Moscow 4 - Auxerre 0
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The Independent Football

CSKA Moscow moved one step closer to the last four of the Uefa Cup after a resounding win against 10-man Auxerre here yesterday. The Russian side overwhelmed their French opponents with goals from Chidi Odiah, Sergei Ignashevich, Vagner Love and Rolan Gusev, while Auxerre finished the match a player down after Jean-Pascal Mignot was dismissed late on for his second yellow card.

It was the home side who started the more positive, dominating the early exchanges. Yuri Zhirkov was a particular menace for the Auxerre defence, rampaging down the left, and it was from that flank that CSKA took the lead in the 21st minute. The visitors failed to clear as the ball worked its way from the left to the right of the penalty area where the Nigerian defender Odiah arrived to fire past Cool, with the help of a deflection off Lionel Mathis.

CSKA continued to direct play with Auxerre limited to long-range efforts. However, in the closing minutes of the half, the French side almost equalised when Younes Kaboul headed just wide from a corner.

It was a tentative opening to the second half from both sides but the first chance fell to the visitors. Eleven minutes after the restart Benjani Mwaruwari found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat but blasted wide.

The visitors were made to rue that missed chance just after the hour as CSKA were awarded a penalty for a foul on Love as he burst into the box. Ignashevich converted. Nine minutes later it was 3-0. Zhirkov used his pace to deliver a perfect left-wing cross which Love diverted past Cool. The winger was again the creator for CSKA's fourth in the 77th minute, supplying the cross for the substitute Gusev to score.

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