Love lights CSKA challenge

Rangers FC 1-1 PFC CSKA Moskva (agg: 2-3) Vágner Love scores the goal that takes the Russian side through.

By Alex O'Henley at Ibrox

PFC CSKA Moskva progressed to the group stages of the UEFA Champions League after earning a 1-1 draw away against Rangers FC in the second leg of the third qualifying round.

Love lift
Brazilian forward Vágner Love, who scored the opening goal in the first leg, was on target again with a goal on the hour mark and, although Rangers replacement Steven Thompson salvaged a draw on the night with a late leveller, CSKA secured a 3-2 aggregate win.

Moore return
Craig Moore returned to the heart of the Rangers defence despite being placed on the transfer list after opting to represent Australia at the Olympic Games. Serbo-Montenegrin midfield player Dragan Mladenovic made his first start of the season in place of the suspended Alex Rae, while Russian international defender Sergey Ignashevich and Evgeny Aldonin came into the CSKA side.

Early opportunities
The Russian side were the first to threaten after just three minutes when Czech midfield player Jirí Jarošík unleashed a 20-metre shot that Rangers goalkeeper Stefan Klos smothered low to his left. Rangers had to wait until the 18th minute before creating their first clear-cut chance, Croatian forward Dado Pršo knocking a high ball back into the path of Peter Løvenkrands, but the Danish winger shot too high.

CSKA control
The Russian team were controlling the midfield and on 23 minutes Fernando Ricksen almost gifted them the opening goal when he conceded possession deep inside his own penalty area, but Klos spared his blushes with an instinctive save from Love’s snapshot.  

Attacking alteration
Rangers striker Nacho Novo had a goal ruled out shortly before half-time and, with his team needing to score at least once, McLeish opted for a more adventurous 4-3-3 formation at the start of the second half with Shota Arveladze joining Novo and Pršo in attack. However, CSKA continued to threaten at the other end and Love went close again on 52 minutes with a long-range shot that fizzed just over.

Close-range finish
The Brazilian was not to be denied though and right on the hour he scored the goal that effectively clinched CSKA's place in Thursday's draw in Monaco. Jarošík escaped the attentions of Moore on the left before delivering a low cross which Love turned over the line. Rangers now needed two goals to take the tie into extra time, but although substitute Thompson equalised with three minutes left, CSKA hung on to go through.