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CSKA Sofia off and running after Rapid triumph

SK Rapid Wien 1-2 PFC CSKA Sofia
The visitors had not scored or recorded a point in Group L at kick-off but left  Austria with their qualification hopes very much alive.

Marquinhos (right) gestures to the CSKA fans after scoring his side's second goal
Marquinhos (right) gestures to the CSKA fans after scoring his side's second goal ©Getty Images

Marquinhos scored the winner midway through the second half as PFC CSKA Sofia defeated SK Rapid Wien to keep their hopes of a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 alive.

Arriving on the back of three successive defeats in Group L and having not scored in the competition since the play-offs, the visitors took the lead five minutes into the second half through Todor Yanchev. Though Hamdi Salihi swiftly levelled from the spot, Marquinhos restored CSKA's advantage soon after, leaving the Army Men four points behind second-placed Beşiktaş JK with two matches remaining.

Missing their two goalscorers − Jan Vennegoor and Steffen Hofmann − from the 2-0 victory in Bulgaria a fortnight ago, Rapid hit the woodwork on eight minutes when Yasin Pehlivan adroitly turned Veli Kavlak's short corner on to the crossbar. Kavlak then rifled in a low shot which Raïs M'Bolhi turned away, before CSKA came within a post's width of scoring their first goal of the group stage.

Alexandar Tonev had the effort, unleashing a dipping shot from some 30 metres which crashed back off Raimund Hedl's right-hand upright. The elusive goal finally arrived in the 50th minute, however, and in some style; Marquinhos chested down Michel's pass on the edge of the area for Yanchev to power past Hedl.

Any designs the visitors had on taking all three points were soon being reassessed when Salihi stroked in a spot kick six minutes later, awarded after Giuseppe Aquaro hauled down Atdhe Nuhiu. Having drawn level, Rapid contributed to their own downfall midway through the half, as the pendulum swung back CSKA's way.

A long clearance downfield looked nothing more than hopeful until Mario Sonnleitner let the ball bounce and Marquinhos stole in. With Hedl still to beat, CSKA's No28 lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper and stroked in the 300th goal Rapid have conceded in UEFA competition.

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