CSKA Moskva are well placed to progress after a scoreless first leg in Belgrade, although their Serbian visitors did not concede an away goal in the group stage.
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Having moved into the UEFA Europa League after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group, CSKA Moskva have their sights trained on a round of 16 place after holding former European champions Crvena zvezda to a goalless first-leg draw in Belgrade. However, the Serbian club, who are making their first springtime appearance on the continental stage for 26 years, can take confidence from their flawless defensive record away from home in the group stage.
• The Belgrade club reached the UEFA Europa League round of 32 for the first time despite scoring just three goals in their group, which was won by Arsenal. Crvena zvezda's tally of nine points was matched in the UEFA Champions League by CSKA, but that placed the Russian side only third in their section behind Manchester United and Basel.
• There was nothing to separate the two teams, both playing their first official encounter of 2018, as they played out a 0-0 draw in rainy Belgrade.
• CSKA have happy memories of their one previous tie against Serbian opponents as their 3-1 aggregate win over Crvena zvezda's Belgrade rivals Partizan in the round of 16 of the 2004/05 UEFA Cup – including a 2-0 win in the home leg, played in Krasnodar – contributed to the club's only continental trophy success.
• Crvena zvezda have won two and lost two of their four two-legged European ties against Russian opponents. The most recent of those took place this season, the Red and Whites overcoming FC Krasnodar on away goals in the play-offs (2-3 away, 2-1 home) to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time.
• CSKA lost their opening two home games in this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage – 1-4 against Manchester United, 0-2 against Basel – before defeating Benfica 2-0 in Moscow on matchday five.
• The Russian side have failed to win any of their last five home matches in springtime European competition (D3 L2), scoring three goals over that stretch while conceding five. They are also without a victory in their last three UEFA Europa League home fixtures, play-offs included (D1 L2).
• The Moscow side's last European knockout phase involvement was a UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie with Real Madrid in 2011/12, which they lost 5-2 on aggregate (1-1 home, 1-4 away). Their one and only appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 came a year earlier as they defeated PAOK 2-1 on aggregate (1-0 away, 1-1 home) before bowing out in the round of 16 to Porto (0-1 home, 1-2 away).
• Crvena zvezda have lost just once in seven European away matches this season (W2 D4) and kept clean sheets in all three of their group games outside Belgrade, winning 1-0 at Köln before posting successive 0-0 draws at Arsenal and BATE Borisov.
• The Belgrade side's concession of just two goals overall in the group stage was bettered by only one other qualifier – Salzburg (one). However, their tally of just three goals scored was the fewest of any of the 24 qualified teams. Only five goals have been scored in total in Crvena zvezda’a seven UEFA Europa League matches since the start of the group stage, with neither they nor their opponents scoring more than once in any of them.
• This is Crvena zvezda's 16th UEFA fixture in 2017/18, prolonging the longest European campaign in the club's history.
• Crvena zvezda's last European knockout fixture away from home in the spring was a momentous 2-1 victory at Bayern München in the 1990/91 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final.
• CSKA were runners-up to city rivals Spartak Moskva in last season's Russian Premier League. To reach the UEFA Champions League group stage they got through two qualifying rounds, defeating both AEK Athens and Young Boys 3-0 on aggregate.
• Second in last season's Serbian Superliga, and UEFA Cup runners-up in 1978/79, Crvena zvezda last extended their European campaign into the spring in 1991/92, when they were the reigning European champions. This is their 22nd continental adventure since then.
• CSKA have won all five of the UEFA competition ties in which they drew the away first leg, always winning the second leg without conceding, most recently against Aston Villa in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 32 (1-1 away, 2-0 home). Three of the other four occasions were in 2004/05 – 0-0 draws at Neftçi in the UEFA Champions League qualifying phase (2-0 home) and Parma in the UEFA Cup semi-final (3-0 home) sandwiching that round of 16 success against Partizan.
• Of the ten times that Crvena zvezda have drawn the first leg of a European tie at home, they have progressed on five occasions, most significantly in the first round of their 1990/91 European Cup triumph, when they beat Grasshoppers 4-1 away after kicking off that campaign with a 1-1 draw in Belgrade. Their six most recent first-leg home draws have all been goalless, with the Serbian side progressing on four of those instances, including two away-goals successes and one penalty shoot-out.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
• CSKA Moskva
In: Kristijan Bistrović, Ahmed Musa
• Crvena zvezda
In: El Fardou Ben Nabouhane, Stefan Hajdin
Out: Filip Bainović, Ricardinho
Links and trivia
• Damien Le Tallec (Mordovia Saransk 2014–16), Mitchell Donald (Mordovia Saransk 2014–15), Branko Jovičić (Amkar 2014–17) and Dušan Andjelković (Rostov 2009–10, Krasnodar 2011–14) have all played in the Russian Premier League.
• CSKA's Viktor Vasin spent 2014/15 at Mordovia Saransk alongside Le Tallec and Donald.
• Russia defeated Serbia 1-0 in an August 2011 friendly. Igor Akinfeev, Aleksei Berezutski, Vasili Berezutski and Sergei Ignashevich all played for the hosts, Nenad Milijaš coming on as a substitute for the visitors.
• Crvena zvezda are the only team to have made it all the way from the first qualifying round of this season's UEFA Europa League to the knockout phase.
• Crvena zvezda striker Richmond Boakye, who missed the first leg through injury, was the joint top scorer in UEFA Europa League qualifying this season with seven goals – level with Maksim Maksimov of Lithuanian club Trakai.
• Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA) serves a one-match ban.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Vasili Berezutski (CSKA); Srdjan Babić, Vujadin Savić (Crvena zvezda).
• CSKA Moskva's record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W0 L1:
6-7 v Ferencváros, 1994/95 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1st round
• Crvena zvezda's record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W4 L1:
6-5 v Real Madrid, 1974/75 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final
2-4 v AC Milan, 1988/89 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round
5-3 v Marseille, 1990/91 European Champion Clubs' Cup final
4-3 v Metz, 1998/99 UEFA Cup first round
6-5 v Omonia, 2012/13 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
• Appointed by CSKA to replace long-serving coach Leonid Slutski in December 2016, Viktor Goncharenko was only 39 at the time, but he had earned a growing reputation in Russian football, notably while serving as Slutski's assistant. He made his name as a coach in his native Belarus at BATE Borisov, winning five straight titles and leading the club into the UEFA Champions League group stage on three occasions.
• Vladan Milojević returned to the club where he began his playing career when Crvena zvezda appointed him as their new head coach in June 2017. The former defender's stock was high at the time after he took Panionios into Greece's post-season play-offs. Two years previously, he had made a name for himself by leading unheralded Čukarički to their first major honour when they beat Partizan in the Serbian Cup final.