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PFC CSKA Moskva winger Mark González admitted he was "looking forward to seeing the highlights on television" after scoring a thunderous strike to earn a 1-1 draw against one-time local rivals Sevilla FC.
The opening leg of the Army Men's UEFA Champions League first knockout round debut looked to be drifting towards a 1-0 defeat when González – until then fairly subdued – sprang into life. Collecting the ball midway through the Sevilla half, he unleashed a venomous left-footed effort before Marius Stankevičius could even think about closing him down. Andrés Palop's dive was in vain too. "My mind went blank, it was pure happiness," said the 25-year-old. "We spoke about me scoring today and I did. I just ran to our fitness trainer."
González has got to know CSKA's fitness experts better than he would have liked over recent months. The combination of an ankle injury and the end of the Russian season meant this was his first competitive fixture since 10 October. Having spent two seasons with Sevilla's neighbours Real Betis Balompié before moving to Russia last summer, the Chilean international had even more cause for joy. "It was a special day for me," he said. "When I was with Betis, Sevilla were our biggest opponents. Thank God I played well and scored. It was my first official Champions League goal and an important one at that."
Indeed, it was González's first goal in Europe since he registered three minutes into his Liverpool FC debut against Maccabi Haifa FC in a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie in August 2006. The stakes now are higher: a quarter-final place beckons on 16 March in Seville. "We're very happy, content with the result in what was our first game of the year," he said. "None of us are 100% physically and we still have room to improve. We just have to keep improving physically and hone our game. Both sides have options so we will have to wait and see. We still have a big chance."
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