Having done more than most to keep PFC CSKA Moskva in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final against FC Internazionale Milano, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is well aware of the size of the task facing the Army Men in next week's second leg.
Akinfeev denied Inter for 65 minutes at San Siro last night until he was finally beaten by a smart low finish from Diego Milito. The Nerazzurri threw everything at the visitors late on as they looked to turn their advantage into a significant one, only to be frustrated by the Russia No1 who repelled efforts from Esteban Cambiasso and Dejan Stanković – giving CSKA everything to play for on home soil on Tuesday.
"We played against one of the strongest teams in Europe, so losing 1-0 away is an OK result," said Akinfeev. "For ten minutes we were locked in our box and they were firing at us from all positions. We knew that would happen and the defenders blocked 70 to 75% of the shots, although Inter finally scored."
In contrast, CSKA had few openings as they were preoccupied with stemming the flow of the blue-and-black tide. "We didn't create enough chances and it's obviously hard to score that way," continued Akinfeev. "It's now up to us in the second leg, but we'll miss [the suspended] Evgeni Aldonin and Miloš Krasić. Their absence is a big blow for us."
Midfielder Deividas Semberas echoed that opinion. "We didn't play as well as we hoped, although at the same time we realise that we faced an extremely skilful opponent. The result isn't the best but it isn't the worst either. We still have a chance – Inter are not unbeatable – but we have to show more in defence, midfield and especially attack in Moscow."
He added: "We have to squeeze the maximum out of the opportunities we create at home, only then will we have enough chances to progress, because there won't be many. We're not Barcelona so we can't guarantee that we'll work plenty of openings."
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