CSKA Moskva 3-1 Sporting CP (agg: 4-3)
Seydou Doumbia scored twice before Ahmed Musa's 85th-minute winner as the Russian side mounted a stirring second-half showing to advance.
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- CSKA Moskva mount second-half comeback to knock out Sporting CP
- Teófilo Gutiérrez's 36th-minute effort puts visitors in front
- Seydou Doumbia scores twice to bring CSKA level on aggregate (49, 72)
- Ahmed Musa's 85th-minute strike takes CSKA into group stage for third year running
- Group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday at 17.45CET
Ahmed Musa's late strike took CSKA Moskva into the UEFA Champions League group stage for the third season in a row as a vibrant second-half showing, featuring two goals for Seydou Doumbia, saw off Sporting CP in Russia.
Leading 2-1 from the play-off first leg in Portugal, Sporting needed to deny CSKA any impetus and achieved their aim by controlling possession in the opening stages – by the time 15 minutes had elapsed, the visitors had enjoyed 65% of the ball. One momentary lapse could have been so costly however – illustrated perfectly midway through the opening period.
CSKA, during one of their first spells of sustained possession, worked space down the right for Mário Fernandes and his low cross picked out Doumbia but the forward fired wide of the near post.
Sporting duly heeded the warning and struck themselves nine minutes before half-time, João Pereira unlocking the home defence. The midfielder's pass was perfectly weighted for Teófilo Gutiérrez, and the finish clipped over Igor Akinfeev to leave CSKA needing to score twice.
Those arrears were halved four minutes into the second period. Alan Dzagoev's low free-kick was inadvertently turned back towards his own goal by Adrien Silva and Doumbia reacted before Rui Patrício, forcing the ball past the goalkeeper at the second attempt.
CSKA's first-leg scorer Doumbia was an increasingly menacing presence and was in the right place again in the 72nd minute. Roman Eremenko's pass found Musa bursting clear of the Sporting defence and an unselfish square pass gave Doumbia a simple finish to level the tie.
Sporting came again, Akinfeev pushing over Alberto Aquilani's free-kick and from the resulting corner Islam Slimani had a header chalked out. CSKA, however, would not be denied, wresting the advantage for the first time in the tie with only five minutes of it left.
Zoran Tošić fed Dzagoev and his pass set Musa in on goal; the finish was emphatic. Sporting ended the contest with ten men as João Mário was dismissed for a high challenge on Musa, and the final whistle moments later prompted unrestrained CSKA celebrations.
Leonid Slutski, CSKA coach
We have had a very difficult Champions League qualification, but at this level that's always the case. I am very pleased that we were able to turn the game around and we showed character, skill and will. I'm grateful to the lads for what they've done.
Jorge Jesus, Sporting coach
We started very well, especially the first 30 minutes: we controlled the match, scored a goal and were 3-1 up on aggregate. Maybe we were not so sharp at the end of the first half, but everything was going well. Over the two legs, I can say that we were better than CSKA. But perhaps our opponents wanted it more at the end of the game. We played a good, strong team; both sides had chances and really wanted to get into the group stage.