By David Minton at Parc des Princes
An outstanding Sergei Semak hat-trick gave ten-man PFC CSKA Moskva victory at Paris Saint-Germain FC - but neither side will enter the UEFA Champions League first knockout round.
Porto pip CSKA
CSKA seemed to be heading through when Semak struck his third, but FC Porto scored a late winner against Chelsea FC and they take second place in Group H behind the London club. CSKA, who had Deividas Semberas sent off at 1-1, will enter the UEFA Cup round of 32.
PSG suffered an early blow when influential midfield player Modeste M'Bami was taken off on a stretcher with two minutes elapsed, falling awkwardly under Jirí Jarošik's legitimate challenge. Coach Vahid Halilhodzic brought on Bernard Mendy - later sent off in added time - to fill his central midfield role.
Normally a right-sided player, Mendy had lost his starting berth at full-back to Stéphane Pichot, while midfield player Edouard Cissé had also been restored to the team after domestic suspension. CSKA were without injured midfield trio Ivica Olic, Daniel Carvalho and Chidi Odiah.
Shortly after M'Bami's enforced exit, PSG goalkeeper Lionel Letizi saved bravely at the feet of Semak. Letizi again had to be alert a couple of minutes later to save with his legs from Rolan Gusev as PSG struggled to reorganise. Needing their first Champions League away victory, CSKA continued to hem PSG inside their own half. A fabulous flowing move culminated with Yuri Zhirkov sending a shot narrowly wide of the upright.
Semak then fired CSKA into a deserved 27th-minute lead. Vágner Love evaded José Pierre-Fanfan on the left and his low cross was turned in from close range by the visiting captain, who beat Mendy to the ball. Looking fresh after two weeks of training in the Spanish sunshine, the visitors continued to play the neater football. Jarošik went close to doubling the Moscow side's advantage with a scorching drive.
PSG levelSemberas dismissed
However, PSG equalised with their first real attack. Pauleta's initial strike, after latching on to Fabrice Pancrate's header down, was saved by Igor Akinfeev. But Akinfeev could not hold on and Pancrate was there to gobble up the rebound. Charles-Edouard Coridon, scorer of an overhead back-heel against Porto on Matchday 3, could not replicate the feat with a more conventional left-footed volley as PSG finished the half strongly.
The second period opened with both sides intent on playing high-tempo, enterprising football. But CSKA were reduced to ten men when defender Semberas handled on the edge of his own area. A second yellow card, following a booking in the latter stages of the first half, saw him dismissed by German referee Markus Merk.
CSKA urged forward
With Semberas still making his way down the tunnel, Pauleta flashed a diving header just wide. Despite that scare, CSKA coach Valeriy Gazzaev knew a point would see his side eliminated from European competition and encouraged his charges to press forward, switching to three at the back. That boldness paid off when Semak scored for the second time after 63 minutes, calmly slotting the ball past Letizi after it broke to him when Love's strike was blocked by Mario Yepes.
Semak then completed a terrific hat-trick. He cut in from the left and unleashed an unstoppable effort from 20 metres past the despairing Letizi. Now it was Halilhodzic's turn to throw caution to the wind as he brought on Danijel Ljuboja, an attacker, for Pichot. But it was just too late - and then CSKA learned of Porto's late winner.