Coach Leonid Slutski was "truly grateful" to his players after a 2-1 win at Beşiktaş JK put PFC CSKA Moskva through, with goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev looking forward to a "good rest" over the winter.
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Coach Leonid Slutski said he was "truly grateful" to his players after a 2-1 win at Beşiktaş JK put PFC CSKA Moskva into the last 16, with goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev looking forward to a "good rest" over the winter.
The extra mile
An added-time strike from Evgeni Aldonin earned CSKA three points, even though Manchester United FC's 3-1 win at VfL Wolfsburg had meant they only needed the one to qualify, but Slutski was delighted they went the extra mile anyway, saying: "I am truly grateful to the lads that they stood up, fought and managed to score just before the final whistle."
Miloš Krašić opened the scoring before the break, but Bobô responded four minutes from time for the Turkish champions, 1-0 winners at Old Trafford in their previous game. The Serbian midfielder insisted that CSKA were not nervous on the night, explaining: "We all believed CSKA could make it to the next round. Of course we also hoped Manchester United would win because they are a good team that could hardly afford to lose two games in a row."
With the Russian domestic season already at an end, CSKA are now looking forward to a long winter break, with their next action coming in the first knockout round in the spring. "We were a bit lucky to win and it was good that Manchester United won too," reflected Akinfeev. "Now that the season in Russia is over, we can have a good rest before setting any goals for the knockout phase. The atmosphere at the stadium was superb. Turkey is always the best and the hardest place to play."
Beşiktaş's German midfielder Fabian Ernst did not dispute the passion of the fans, telling uefa.com: "As always, they were great." However, left-back İbrahim Üzülmez would have liked the Inönü Stadium crowd to have seen a first Group B home win on Tuesday. "We wanted to finish our Champions League adventure with a win, but we couldn't," he said. "We wanted to make our fans happy, as they witnessed our desire on the pitch and appreciated our efforts after the match."