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Plzeň storm back to snatch third from CSKA

FC Viktoria Plzeň 2-1 PFC CSKA Moskva
Tomáš Wágner lashed in a 90th-minute winner to earn a UEFA Europa League spot as Pavel Vrba enjoyed a dream end to his reign as Plzeň boss.

Plzeň 2-1 CSKA Moskva: the story in photos ©AFP/Getty Images

Substitute Tomáš Wágner lashed in a 90th-minute winner as FC Viktoria Plzeň stole third place in Group D and a UEFA Europa League spot from right under PFC CSKA Moskva's noses, giving coach Pavel Vrba a dream send-off.

The Russian visitors, needing only a draw, looked home and hosed when Ahmed Musa broke the deadlock midway through the second half. But the dismissal of Alan Dzagoev soon after altered the complexion of the match. Daniel Kolář headed a 76th-minute equaliser to spark a Plzeň onslaught and Wágner found a way through the Army Men defences at the death – though there was still time for Pontus Wernbloom to see red and complete CSKA's misery.

It was an incredible end to Vrba's five-and-a-half-year spell as Plzeň coach as he departs to take the reins of the Czech Republic. Indeed, an air of expectation hung over the Štruncovy Sady Stadión all night, the atmosphere as electric at the finish as it had been at the start, when the home side were fully charged. Milan Petržela and Pavel Horváth soon threatened yet it was 27 minutes before Igor Akinfeev was called into action, to deny Stanislav Tecl.

Plzeň's attacking endeavour was a bit toothless; CSKA, on the counterattack, seemed to pose far greater threat. Never more so than when Musa found himself one-on-one with Matúš Kozáčik but the goalkeeper blocked with his left foot. By half-time the away team were on an equal footing and slowly the pendulum swung towards CSKA. On 65 minutes they went 1-0 up as substitute Keisuke Honda crossed from the left and Ahmed Musa nodded in at the far post.

CSKA appeared to be cruising but when Dzagoev was red-carded for a trip, they began to sink. It took nine minutes for Plzeň to capitalise as Horváth delivered a perfect pass from the right and Kolář met it with a firm header. The equaliser heralded a frantic period of pressure from the hosts, buoyed by their fantastic fans, and they sealed a famous win when František Rajtoral delivered towards Wagner. The forward still had a lot to do but he did it in some style. A fitting farewell for Vrba.

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