By Pavle Gognidze
Jirí Jarošík scored the winning goal as PFC CSKA Moskva claimed a narrow lead in the first leg of this UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie. Jarošík struck shortly after half-time to secure a 2-1 victory for the Russian side, who had seen Vágner Love's earlier opener cancelled out by Nacho Novo.
Playing at the Lokomotiv stadium in Moscow, CSKA made the perfect start when Brazilian striker Love struck his second goal in as many games for his new club. After just four minutes, Ivica Olic carried the ball down the left and crossed perfectly for Love to head in.
Rangers looked shocked and soon afterwards Czech midfield player Jarošík forced a good save from Stefan Klos with a long-range effort, which took a deflection on its way to goal. Croatia striker Dado Pršo engineered the Scottish side's first attack of note on 15 minutes but could not connect with the final pass.
Defence looking confident
A minute later, meanwhile, Love threatened another goal when he outpaced Jean-Alain Boumsong and went one-on-one with Klos, but only won a corner for his efforts. At the other end, Rangers went looking for an equaliser but found a confident CSKA defence in front of them, Deividas Šemberas working tirelessly at the heart of it.
Nevertheless, on 37 minutes, Rangers did find a way through as Pršo robbed defender Vasili Berezutskiy and fed Novo. Although the former Dundee FC striker could not finish the move, Semberas's attempted clearance went only as far as Pršo, who set up Novo again and this time the Spaniard shot past Igor Akinfeev.
CSKA came out for the second half with captain Sergei Semak brought on in a forward role in place of defender Vasili Berezutski. And within a minute they were back in front thanks to a moment's brilliance from Jarošík. The Czech international collected the ball from a throw-in, beat two defenders and bent a shot into the top corner.
Valeriy Gazzaev's men looked for further goals but got no closer than Rolan Gusev's free-kick which brought a good save from Klos after 68 minutes, and had to settle for the 2-1 lead they will take to Glasgow for the return leg on 25 August.
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